The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Child farmworker advocate still disappointed in withdrawal of rule rewrite

Norma Flores López

Norma Flores López

President Barack Obama’s dedication of the César E. Chávez National Monument in California on Monday was inspiring, but the administration's withdrawal of a proposal for tougher safety rules for child farm workers remains disappointing, a key farm worker advocate said in a news release Tuesday.

“We commend the Obama administration for establishing this monument, but are still profoundly disappointed in its action in April to pull the updates to the Hazardous Orders for children employed in agriculture,” said Norma Flores López, director of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs Children in the Fields Campaign and chair of the domestic issues committee for the Child Labor Coalition.

“Without those updates, farm worker children’s lives continue to be put in jeopardy harvesting America’s food,” she said. “It was a missed opportunity to follow in the footsteps of César Chávez, who advocated so persuasively for the protection of the nation’s farmworkers.”

The rules, which have not been updated in more than 40 years, came after changes were made to the Hazardous Orders for children employed in non-agricultural occupations. The proposed changes were implemented with little fanfare or difficulty, AFOP noted in a news release.

After farm groups campaigned vigorously against the proposed rules, the Obama administration withdrew the rule and said it would not be reconsidered as long as Obama is president.