A construction site is no place for kids. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous contractors from putting young children to work on taxpayer-funded building projects.
Last summer, our staff found kids as young as 13 or 14 on school construction projects in Edina and Minnetonka. In one case, a child was observed operating machinery and a using a concrete saw with no personal protective equipment.
Local 563 believes that no child should ever be put in such a dangerous situation, least of all on a public construction project. We are committed to ending the unsafe use of child labor and ensuring that all of the responsible parties are held accountable, including the general contractor and the construction owner.
When our staff witnessed child labor at an Edina school project, we immediately contacted the district with the help of the Edina chapter of Education Minnesota. The Edina School District did the right thing by investigating, taking action to remove the child from danger, and making clear to contractors that the district does not condone the use of unsafe child labor.
Less than two weeks later, our staff found a child on a Minnetonka school construction project and contacted the district. Initially, the administration defended the child’s presence on the job site based on false information supplied by a contractor who claimed the boy was 17 and assisting his father’s company.
But an investigation by the union uncovered evidence that the boy was just 14, and that his father was not the listed owner of the company. Minnetonka school officials have since made clear that they, too, have informed contractors that they do not want minors working on the district’s construction projects.
Contractors That Put Children At Risk:
Derau (General Contractor - Edina)
J.S. Cates (General Contractor - Minnetonka)
Scott's Concrete & Masonry (Subcontractor - Minnetonka)