In this Edition... Salute to Tradition!
From state fairs to men and women in uniform, this issue aims to pay tribute to Flag Day by highlighting workers and events that make Missouri the great state that it is.
A Salute to the Military Spouse
Throughout history, we have all become familiar with the common hardships of an active duty military member. Often times overlooked, is the difficulty that the spouse must deal with for something they did not enlist for. While trying to maintain “normality” and keep the family together, a spouse must endure several moves to unfamiliar areas throughout the States, and sometimes the world. This can make it very hard to start a network, let alone a career.
The military spouses make every Permanent Change of Station (PCS) that the military member makes, except deployments to warzones. Now, imagine making that move six times in a 20 year period. I have heard stories of families moving every three to five years!
Being a war veteran, I saw how the continual stress from constant moves takes a toll on military families. Many times, the stress was about the lack of money due to the family having to live on one budget because of a move.
With so many military families on the move, Missouri passed a law that allows the spouse of an active duty military member to file for unemployment benefits. The law, effective August 28, 2011, states that if a citizen of the state left their job and relocated to be with a spouse in the military, they are eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks while they search for full-time work.
With June 14 being Flag Day and the U.S. Army’s Birthday, the Missouri Department of Labor would like to take this opportunity to thank all service members (and families!) around the globe. If you would like more information on Unemployment Benefits for military spouses, visit our Military notice. Watch this video on how this law helped two Missouri military families.
Apprenticeship Program Impacts Missouri Workers
It is often argued that our Country’s “Greatness” was forged from the iron-works of the Industrial Revolution. There is still a place where sweat beads off the brows of workers cutting half-inch thick pieces of iron with a plasma torch. And that was only the beginning of the Ironworkers Local 10 Annual Apprenticeship Contest held in Kansas City, MO, June 7-8.
The 14 contestants, from nine regional unions and five states, were chosen by their local unions for their outstanding efforts at training and work. Each contestant competed in events that included a written test, precision with layout instruments, welding, burning, rigging, ornamental work, and the dreaded 35-foot high I-beam climb. The contestants battled through the sweat and pain of the competition, not for the prizes or money, but because they love what they have learned from their time with the Apprenticeship Program.
“Not to make it sound like it’s all about the money because it’s not,” said Gerald Bryce, Ironworkers Local 10 competitor. “You just try to find something that you do that you love and I have learned to love this.”
Bryce, a Texas native, moved to Kansas City in hopes to take a job with Union Pacific Railroad. The job fell through and Bryce found himself living in a homeless shelter in downtown Kansas City, MO. A month and a half later, Bryce found a job in security and was able to move into an apartment. From his window, Bryce saw opportunity in the form of a company, JE Dunn Construction. After contacting the company, Bryce was able to enter into the Ironworkers Apprenticeship Program.
More so than a job, the Apprenticeship Program is teaching young men and women the skills they need to pursue a career. The program is a combined effort in which an employer will help fund a specific union to train a person to do a special skill that they are in need of.
“The program is a real good chance for employers to see the kind of training that we do,” said Brian Garrett, contest supervisor and program instructor. “The way we are set up here is it’s a joint apprenticeship (with the employers)…so the actual employers have a say in our training.”
These 14 competitors embrace the American dream. In a time when good stories are few and far between, the competitors have risen above the hardship and have found a path to a very rewarding career. Congratulations to all 14 competitors, including the winner Mike S. Johnson from Ironworkers Local 10 in Kansas City, MO, and to all that are involved in the apprenticeship program.
Child Labor: For Fair Purposes
With summer knocking on our door, the familiar sounds of the carnival will be filling our downtown streets or designated fair grounds. From the musical sounds of the accordion to the exciting shrills of children on rides, all of which every Missourian is familiar with. But not all youth come to fairs for the rides or the funnel cakes, they come to work. Missouri’s child labor laws exist to protect children under the age of 16, including those that work at the fair, from being employed in a manner that is detrimental to their safety, health, morals, educational process, or general wellbeing.
All Missourians and carnival employees should be familiar with Missouri child labor laws. For fair purposes:
- The law allows children over the age of 14 to work as late as 10:30 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
- Youth are not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week and minimum wage laws do apply to most circumstances
- There are still certain occupations that would be prohibited, such as operating a deep fryer, vehicles, rides, etc.
- Workers in Missouri are expected to be knowledgeable of and adhere to Missouri’s employment laws, including child labor laws.
- In most cases, a child is not deemed to be “employed” if under the parents’ direct control, unless they are doing work that is prohibited.
The best way to ensure you and your fellow Missourians have a memorable and exciting time at the fair is to make sure the youngsters taking your entry tickets, serving you popcorn, or operating the game booth knows the youth employment laws. If you feel that you have witnessed a violation of Missouri’s child labor laws, you are encouraged to contact the Division of Labor Standards immediately at 573-751-3403 or complete the complaint form.