On May 7, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced the Future Logging Careers Act (HR 4590), which would exempt loggers’ family members ages 16 and 17 from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s current prohibition from employing anyone under 18 in logging. The legislation would retain a prohibition against employing such minors in chain saw operation and cable skidding and would stipulate that they be directly employed by a parent.
Many in our industry have pointed out that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s current prohibition against employing anyone under 18 in logging work has created strong disincentives for motivated family members to obtain the kind of apprenticeship they need to prepare for a generational transfer of a logging business—an often-cited factor in declining logging capacity. Many also doubt whether logging’s “hazardous” conditions, from which the Fair Labor Standards Act is mandated to protect minor children, realistically extend to work within enclosed cabs.
On May 14, Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) introduced similar legislation in the Senate (S 2335).
FRA has provided its endorsement to the American Loggers Council’s letter advocating passage of the legislation and is preparing a grassroots action call to promote this policy change. ALC is seeking additional national, regional, and state associations and business endorsers for the letter and can accept endorsers up to May 31. To review ALC’s letter and add your endorsement, please contact ALC’s Danny Dructor at firstname.lastname@example.org, 409-625-02065. Meanwhile, Deere & Company has created a “Write Your Legislators” template (similar to FRA’s) that anyone can use to send pre-drafted (but revisable) messages to Congress advocating these bills. Please visit this link to review the request and letter template, and consider adding your voice.