Published by Chris Chmielenski
The child labor boom continues with Monogram Meat Snacks paying a $30,000 fine and agreeing to increased oversight from the Department of Labor (DOL) after being caught hiring teenagers in their dangerous Minnesota facility. This is only the latest meatpacking company to be caught using child labor. Packers Sanitation Services recently paid a $1.5 million fine for employing over 100 children. When you factor in the unaccompanied alien children trafficking pipeline run by the Biden Administration, it is clear that the border crisis has fueled a child labor crisis in this country.
Monogram Meat Snacks claimed that the children falsified documents to get hired, and fired them immediately upon discovering that. How could the employer possibly know the identity of their prospective employees? If only there was a way to VERIFY documents and eligibility to work. Alas, a search of the E-Verify Participating Employers database came up with no results for Monogram Meat Snacks. It is unclear why the DOL did not require this child labor violator to use E-Verify in their agreement for more oversight.
If Monogram was really duped by teenagers in their hiring process, then they need all the help they can get, and E-Verify is an easy tool to help prevent illegal labor. The DOL should be mandating E-Verify use in all settlements and consent decrees with known labor law violators. E-Verify stands as the best available tool to wipe out the black market in labor, where child and forced labor thrive. If the Federal government is serious about combating these stains on society, then it is time to use the best tool they have.
This all comes from a company that, I kid you not, has a nonprofit called Monogram Foods Loves Kids Foundation. Also, the $30,000 fine they paid is nothing for a company that had over $1 billion in revenue in 2021. Our child labor fines are a drop in the fiscal bucket for these companies. Until the financial equation tips and makes violating our laws more expensive, then you can count on more of the same. Congress needs to treat child labor at least as seriously as it treats other crimes involving children. Putting children to work in dangerous facilities for profit is exploitation of children and should be treated with the same seriousness it is in any other context. These miniscule fines in the face of child exploitation is tantamount to an endorsement of it. It is time to make clear that child exploitation is unacceptable in the labor market.
JARED CULVER is a Legal Analyst for NumbersUSA
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