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DOL cracks down on child labor while states loosen laws on July 28, 2023 at 3:26 pm Business News | The Hill

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The Department of Labor (DOL) is cracking down on child labor violations even as multiple states have taken steps to loosen regulations around teenagers in the workplace.  

At least 11 states have recently sought to make it easier to get minors in the workforce, including this year both Arkansas and Iowa, the latter of which moved to allow teenagers into meat packing facilities and for those as young as 16 to bartend. 

Proponents say the changes will help young workers acquire valuable life skills and that parents should be the ones to decide when their kids are ready for a particular job.

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But child advocates fear putting teenagers into increasingly dangerous work environments that are difficult to regulate and vulnerable to exploitation. 

And on Thursday, the DOL and its Interagency Task Force to Combat Child Labor Exploitation announced new actions it will be taking after it found that child labor violations have risen 69 percent between 2018 and last year.

“Child labor is an issue that gets to the heart of who we are as a country and who we want to be. Like the President, we believe that any child working in a dangerous or hazardous environment is one child too many,” acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said. 

State efforts to change child labor laws come amid a tight labor market and a workers shortage.

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“A lot of the legislators are citing that as a reason for weakening protections against child labor,” said Reid Maki, director of child labor advocacy for the National Consumers League and coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition. “We don’t think that’s a valid reason. We really don’t understand why you would want to balance the labor shortage against the backs of our vulnerable teen workers.” 

In May, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill to expand the number of hours and places a teenager can work, allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to work in industrial areas such as meat coolers. 

“With this legislation, Iowa joins 20 other states in providing tailored, common sense labor provisions that allow young adults to develop their skills in the workforce,” Reynolds said after signing the law.

“In Iowa, we understand there is dignity in work and we pride ourselves on our strong work ethic. Instilling those values in the next generation and providing opportunities for young adults to earn and save to build a better life should be available,” she added.

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In Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) in March signed the Youth Hiring Act of 2023, doing away with the requirement that children under the of age 16 must get permission from the state government to work. 

Nick Stehle, vice president of communications for the Foundation for Government Accountability, a group that led the push for reform in Arkansas, stressed the importance working young can make on a person’s life.

“Keeping a schedule and having to collaborate with other people, having to work with other people and discovering your skills and shortcomings while you’re still you’re still very young, those are just all lessons that not only complement what you’re learning in the classroom, they add some real world context to it,” Stehle said. 

Stehle emphasized all the reforms his group supported were in line with federal child labor laws.

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“There’s been allegations that this is about making it so that teenagers can work in dangerous jobs or that they can work really late at night, stuff like that. And none of that is true,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the DOL says it concluded 765 child labor cases between Oct. 1 and July 20. finding 4,474 children were employed in violation of federal standards. 

Federal investigators found one instance in which the owner of six Nevada Sonic locations had committed more than 170 child labor violations, including employing 14- and 15-year-olds to operate deep fryers, work more hours than allowed and work at hours not allowed under federal guidelines. 

In one tragic case that made national headlines earlier this month, a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala was killed in an on-the-job accident at a Mississippi poultry plant. Workers under the age of 18 are not allowed in such facilities for safety reasons, and DOL said at the time that it is investigating.

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DOL plans to partner with other government offices such as the Office of Refugee Resettlement to give training on how to identify and report instances of child labor violations and update their guidelines.

It is also teaming up with the Department of Agriculture to demand that the country’s 18 largest meat and poultry processors take steps such as find out if illegal child labor is used anywhere in their supply chain in order to combat exploitive practices.

One of the causes experts say is behind the increase in child labor violations is the uptick in unaccompanied minors coming into the U.S.

“These are very vulnerable young people that need money and they may — they may be sending money back to family and Central America and Mexico. So they have a desperate need for money,” Maki said. 

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A New York Times investigation earlier this year showed migrant children, some as young as 13, at the brunt of work that violates federal standards.

In response, the U.S. will be working with the embassies of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to take steps to combat child labor and educate migrants on the problem.

The increase in child labor violations combined with the changes to state laws have concerned advocates who are afraid the problem will only get worse. 

“Our child labor laws are very common sense laws that really serve two purposes. They make sure children are not working in highly dangerous and hazardous jobs and that the work they do does not interfere with their development and their schooling,” said Laura Padin, director of work structures at the National Employment Law Project.

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“These laws serve a really important purpose. It’s really disturbing to see this happening now,” Padin added.

Experts contend the new laws will harm poor children, children of color and undocumented children who would take these jobs out of necessity to survive. 

“They’re seeking to expand employment to workers that can be paid less in order to keep wages low and still maintain the same levels of employment,” said Nina Mast, a state economic analyst for the Economic Policy Institute. “At the same time, you also have our broken immigration system that has resulted in many unaccompanied migrant youth in this country without work authorization and sort of compelled by their economic circumstances to work. And that’s really a recipe for exploitation because they lack sort of the legal rights and support to demand safe and age-appropriate work.”

​Education, Administration, Business, State Watch, child labor laws The Department of Labor (DOL) is cracking down on child labor violations even as multiple states have taken steps to loosen regulations around teenagers in the workplace. At least 11 states have recently sought to make it easier to get minors in the workforce, including this year both Arkansas and Iowa, the latter of which…  

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Ava DuVernay Launches Array to Amplify Underrepresented Filmmakers

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In a bold move to champion diversity and inclusivity in the film industry, Ava DuVernay, the trailblazing director behind critically acclaimed works like “Selma” and “When They See Us,” has launched Array, a new distribution company aimed at amplifying the voices of women and ethnic minority filmmakers.

Lupita and Ana DuVernay

Empowering Underrepresented Storytellers

Array, a multi-platform media company, will serve as a powerful platform for underrepresented storytellers, providing them with the resources, support, and distribution channels they need to bring their unique narratives to a global audience. DuVernay, who has long been an advocate for diversity and representation in Hollywood, recognizes the immense talent and perspectives that have been historically marginalized and aims to create a space where these voices can thrive.“For too long, the film industry has been dominated by a narrow perspective, leaving countless stories untold and voices unheard,” said DuVernay. “With Array, we are committed to uplifting the work of talented filmmakers who have been overlooked and undervalued, and to creating a more inclusive and diverse cinematic landscape.”

A Curated Selection of Powerful Stories

Array will curate a diverse slate of films, documentaries, and episodic content from emerging and established filmmakers, with a particular focus on stories that explore the complexities of race, gender, and social justice. The company will leverage its partnerships with major streaming platforms, theatrical distributors, and film festivals to ensure these powerful narratives reach a wide audience.

Fostering Collaboration and Mentorship

In addition to distribution, Array will also provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for aspiring filmmakers, fostering a collaborative environment where artists can learn, grow, and support one another. DuVernay, who has mentored numerous up-and-coming directors, understands the importance of nurturing talent and creating a supportive ecosystem for underrepresented voices.“Representation matters, not just on screen but behind the camera as well,” DuVernay emphasized. “By empowering diverse storytellers and amplifying their voices, we can create a more inclusive and equitable film industry that reflects the rich tapestry of our society.”With Array, Ava DuVernay is paving the way for a new era of storytelling, one that celebrates the power of diverse perspectives and ensures that the voices of women and ethnic minorities are heard, celebrated, and embraced on a global scale.

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Honoring a Digital Pioneer: Happy Birthday Mark!

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Today, we celebrate the birthday of Mark Zuckerberg, the enigmatic CEO and co-founder of Facebook, who has revolutionized the way we connect and share information. As he marks another year of life, we reflect on his remarkable journey, from creating a social network in his college dorm room to building a global phenomenon. Join us in honoring his innovative spirit and the impact he’s had on the digital world.

Early Adopter and Philanthropist

Zuckerberg’s early adoption of emerging technologies is a testament to his forward-thinking mindset. In 2011, he was the most followed user on Google+, surpassing even the platform’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This early embrace of new platforms showcases Zuckerberg’s ability to identify and capitalize on emerging trends.

Alongside his technological prowess, Zuckerberg has also made significant strides in philanthropy. In 2014, he donated $25 million to combat the Ebola virus epidemic, demonstrating his commitment to using his wealth and influence to make a positive impact on the world. Furthermore, Zuckerberg has signed the “Giving Pledge” commitment, promising to donate at least 50% of his wealth over his lifetime.

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Unconventional Career Path and Surprising Milestones

Zuckerberg’s career path has been anything but conventional. Despite receiving job offers from companies like AOL and Microsoft before even graduating high school, he turned them all down, choosing instead to pursue his own vision. This decision would ultimately lead to the creation of Facebook, a platform that has revolutionized the way we connect and share information.

One of the most surprising milestones in Zuckerberg’s life was his marriage to Priscilla Chan. The couple’s wedding was a surprise to guests, who thought they were attending Chan’s graduation party. This unexpected event showcases Zuckerberg’s ability to keep his personal life private amidst the glare of public scrutiny.

Visionary Leadership and Controversies

As the CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg has demonstrated visionary leadership, guiding the company through periods of rapid growth and expansion. In 2010, at the age of 26, he was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year after Facebook reached over 500 million users, a testament to his ability to drive innovation and user engagement.

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However, Zuckerberg’s tenure has not been without controversy. In 2018, he testified before the U.S. Congress regarding Facebook’s data privacy practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, highlighting the challenges of balancing user privacy with the demands of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Unique Personality and Quirks

Zuckerberg’s unique personality and quirks have also captured public attention. His wardrobe, consisting of multiple copies of the same gray shirts and darker gray hoodies, has become an iconic part of his public persona. Additionally, his belief that Facebook could have prevented the Iraq War by giving more people a voice to share their perspectives showcases his ambitious vision for the platform.

Despite the controversies and challenges he has faced, Mark Zuckerberg remains a visionary leader who has transformed the way we connect and share information. From his early programming talents to his philanthropic efforts and unconventional career path, Zuckerberg’s story is a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and vision in shaping the future of technology.

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Introducing GPT-4o

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OpenAI’s latest innovation, GPT-4o, is set to transform the business landscape with its groundbreaking AI capabilities. This cutting-edge model empowers organizations to achieve new levels of efficiency, innovation, and customer engagement, giving them a competitive edge in an ever-evolving market.

Multimodal Mastery: Seamless Interactions Across Platforms

GPT-4o excels in integrating voice, visual, and textual inputs, enabling businesses to engage with customers and stakeholders in a truly immersive and intuitive manner.
  • Voice Interaction Mastery: Engage in real-time voice conversations with remarkable accuracy and human-like emotional nuances.
  • Visual Intelligence Powerhouse: Process visual inputs like images and videos in real-time, enabling object recognition, scene understanding, and visual reasoning.
  • Code Reading Genius: Read and understand complex code, empowering developers and analysts to work more efficiently.
Performance and Cost Efficiency: Accelerating Business Growth
GPT-4o delivers lightning-fast productivity and cost-effective solutions, ensuring businesses can leverage AI capabilities without compromising their bottom line.
  • Lightning-Fast Productivity: Generation speed is twice as fast as its predecessor, enabling rapid decision-making and accelerating workflows.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions: 50% lower API pricing and a 5x higher rate limit make AI capabilities accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Global Reach and Knowledge: Transcending Boundaries
GPT-4o’s advanced capabilities enable businesses to navigate the global landscape with ease.
  • Multilingual Mastery: Enhanced performance for non-English languages connects businesses with global markets and diverse audiences.
  • Expansive Knowledge Base: Access the latest industry trends, best practices, and market developments with a knowledge base spanning until October 2023.
GPT-4o is poised to become the ultimate AI assistant for businesses, streamlining workflows, driving data-driven insights, and elevating customer experiences. Embrace the future of AI-powered operations and unlock new levels of efficiency, innovation, and growth.
Note: I made some minor changes to the structure, wording, and formatting to improve readability and flow. I also removed the citations section, as it’s not typical in marketing copy, and instead incorporated the sources into the text where necessary. Let me know if you have any further requests!

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