102 children worked hazardous jobs cleaning American slaughterhouses

Originally published at: 102 children worked hazardous jobs cleaning American slaughterhouses | Boing Boing


I wonder if that maximum settlement per child is objectively less than the extra cost of hiring an adult

No doubt. No prizes for guessing where the kids fall in the melanin chart.

The fine was probably also set in the 40s when $15K would have been more painful to the company, and then never updated. And in a just world, that’s what congress would do rather than investigate whether Hunter Biden wears boxers or briefs.


I wonder if that maximum settlement per child is objectively less than the extra cost of hiring an adult.

Let’s say they’re in the system and getting paychecks for 5 four hour part-time days’ work each week. For a month, that’s $465.74 after taxes at $7.25/hr minimum wage. It’s still about $638 before taxes if they’re being paid under the table, so $7,656 for an entire year. A little over half of what the fine is, but I have no idea what a slaughterhouse cleaner might make per hour. One of the worst offenders, Kansas still pays only $7.25/hr to clear minimum wage.

So, the worst case scenario is that PSS is paying about double the cost of each worker, but it’s still a light tap on the wrist compared to hiring adults, I suspect. Think about how much work they got out of those or other kids before they were caught.

Incidentally, I have worked as a tool and cutter grinder (in Kansas, at near minimum wage) in my 20s, and “pig slicer” blades are no joke. Think about the blades used to slice meat at your local delicatessen and increase the size X2, with a sharp edge all the way around. Still, they employ the cleaners using caustic chemicals to clean surfaces, which is bad enough as a skin and mucous membrane irritant. :man_shrugging:

Even if folks are being paid $15/hr (San Diego’s minimum wage), to work in those conditions, that pay rate is a travesty even if you’re an adult.

ETA: Ope! I was mistaken. San Diego’s minimum wage increased on January 1st to $16.30/hr. Kansas still remains the same, even after consideration of raising it this year. :man_shrugging:


I WANTED a job at the grocery store at 14-15. It would make more money than my paper route and I was getting more and more into comics.

But they wouldn’t hire me. Said it was too much of a hassle paperwork wise and limiting hours etc.

This is not that. This is over 100 children being pressed into hard, difficult, and highly dangerous labor. :woman_shrugging: Even if these kids “wanted” this work, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to. Because, you know, they can die or get maimed… Just like we’ve decided they should not be drinking alcohol, or driving cars up to a certain point, or get mortgages… there are lots of things we’ve decided children should not do, because they are… you know, CHILDREN…


Well, I guess this kids have got a pretty clear idea about how the sausage gets made under Capitalism.

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I’m not saying it is.

I guess it is half finished thought, but my point was that things must really have changed if hiring a 14-15 yer old to do basic tasks like check people out or stock some shelves was too must of a hassle due to the paper work then. But NOW places are willing to hire them for considerably more dangerous jobs.

I agree that there is zero reason for minors to work in something dangerous like slaughter houses.

Well, yes. What’s changed is that capital is seeking ever more vulnerable workers, who are less likely to fight back that they can justify slashing their wages to below starvation levels… Likely the place you applied to as a youngster still had some standards about ensuring their workers, because it was (what?) 30 or more years ago?

I’d argue that most kids should be getting an education, and maybe doing some light work, and not taking on full 40 hour weeks anywhere. Hell, 20 hour weeks can impede their education…


There was a part in Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle where Stanislovas Lukoszaite, a child worker, fell asleep in a meat packing plant, got locked in at night, and was found the next day having mostly been eaten by rats.


I wonder if that’s one of the parts that people couldn’t verify… I seem to remember that most of the stuff he talked about was verifiable, but some of the most extreme things were questioned (one of the deaths in the book). Though I have little doubt that couldn’t have happened…

But hey, let’s go back to that, say the GOP!


The point being…

Advocates and lawyers for the children say some of the child workers for PSSI were unaccompanied minors who recently came across the southern border.


That too. These are literally the most vulnerable of the vulnerable…


Looks like that meme I posted 2 years ago comes in handy here:

EDIT- the image isn’t coming through. here:


I missed that detail. Good point. That makes it even more exploit-y.

Sure. No way you would work 40hrs and still do high school. I only worked “part time” when I was in high school, except, I think, some of the summer.

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