Sunday, September 18, 2011

Child Workers in Bolivia Form Labor Unions

Child workers in Bolivia have formed their own labor union. Contrary to the popular opinion of child labor in the United States, these children do not view their situation as a bad one; they want to work, and formed these unions for their own benefit. The unions are meant to grant them protection and basic rights from the government, as well as to gain respect from others in the work force. Being children, they are often picked on and beat up by grown-ups, but they have learned to adapt and protect themselves. The children, some of whom are interviewed in the story, work according to their own schedules, and they are all required to go to school in order to be in a labor union. They run their own union meetings, where they have created rules for themselves, and they abide by them without fail, imposing fines on members who arrive late or miss a meeting or a workshop. These children are often the sole providers for their families, yet they still have the same ambitions as other non-working children around the world, they dream of better things, such as careers as doctors, architects, economists, or business administrators. But for now they are still only children, children who already run their own union meetings.

Marion Gibney‘ground-shifters’-‘girls-gauntlets’-–-children-unionizing-bolivia-92051

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