During weeks of investigation into the close-knit and tight-lipped community of migrant workers, NBC Bay Area found dozens of children working the fields in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys — some who started work at 11 , 10 and even 8 years of age. Advocates say the number nationwide may be as high as half a million.
While 8-year-old children can’t work in an office or a fast-food restaurant, a 1938 law allows them to legally work in agriculture.
A family that picks together doesn’t get educated and keeps on picking food.
Critics of U.S. labor law say it’s a relentless cycle: Young workers drop out of school to follow their families and the crops for work. They work a full day in the fields picking, trimming and cultivating fresh fruits and vegetables. They often work nine to 10 hours a day in 100 degree-plus heat.
Then they remain stuck in the fields because they never finish high school.
Whoops there it is.