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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Strategy for progressive education:  Workplace Readiness Week

Welcome to Take Action Tuesday!


Watch out for exploding heads from the book-banning crowd.  “Workplace Readiness Week” at schools is an idea whose time may have come.


Know Your Rights!


California will kick off their Workplace Readiness Week with the 2024-25 school year. 


It will start in late April each year, part of Labor History Month in May.  During this week, all public high schools, including charter schools, will be required to provide students in grades 11 and 12 with:

-       A document clearly explaining their labor rights, before being issued any work permit

-       Info on all the laws affecting workers, such as those involving child labor, wage and hour protections, worker safety, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, paid sick leave, paid family leave, state disability insurance, the prohibition against misclassification of employees as independent contractors

-       Also, the right to organize a union in the workplace, prohibitions against retaliation, and the labor movement’s role in winning labor protections for workers

The California Labor Federation played a major role in getting this done.  A story in Common Dreams noted that Subway restaurants were recently caught mistreating minors. They assigned minors to work hours that are illegal under California law, required children as young as 14 to operate dangerous equipment, as well as illegally keeping tips instead of distributing them among workers and failing to pay employees regularly. 

Hot Labor School Year, Coast to Coast

A lot of teens work, and they’re often exploited.  There have been a number of cases lately where minors have suffered major injuries and even been killed on the job.  In the face of labor shortages, several Republican-controlled states have rolled back protections lately, allowing children as young as 14 to work in hazardous environments. So it's good to prepare kids to fight for themselves.

New York State Senator Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas has introduced a similar bill in the New York legislature, and there is also one pending in the Illinois House (described by one website as “giving unions a platform for indoctrination”).   Hopefully more states will follow!



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