Strawberry Slavery

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Young kids, with nothing better to do, barely making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Horrors! And in sweeps the Feds to save the day.

Two of the southwest Washington state growers cited with fines – George Hoffman Farms and Berry Good Farms – were found to be in violation of minimum wages laws. The two growers, along with Columbia Fruit LLC, have taken steps to remove the underage workers from their fields and will be required to attend training conducted by the federal government over the next three years, according to a Department of Labor statement.

The complaint is that the children stoop and stand. They have backaches and bruised knees. Their muscles hurt because they – gasp! – use them. They work too hard and miss out on those glorious video games and those non-stooping hours on the couch in front of the TV set. Thanks to Travis Holte for the link. John, who is about my age, writes on my blog:

My how times have changed, Karen. When I lived in Holland, MI as a boy, during the summers I was 11 and 12, my mom would drive me, and two of my older sisters and one older brother (ages 13 (sis), 15 (bro), 17 (sis) to the blueberry fields every morning. The work paid $8 bucks per 100 pounds picked. The first week I performed this work, I didn’t even make 100 pounds picked, but was I ever proud on Friday afternoon when the field owner handed me that little brown envelope with just over $6 bucks in it. By the end of the season, I was able to pick just over 150 pounds per week. Mom and Dad made me tithe that money I earned, too, but I saved enough of it to buy my first suit, which I picked out myself, from the J.C. Penny catalog. Dang I was proud of that.

The whole crazed child welfare argument is an example of how the obsession with ‘the children’ has led to the notion that children are to be obsessively protected, worshiped, and fawned over in their quest to become non-producing little consumers. George Carlin, in his famous video clip, called it child worship, or the excessive devotion to children on the part of professional parents. Warning: bad language.


6:01 pm on August 12, 2011