Saturday, August 2, 2008

Today, even in 2008, the Required Wage and Hour Notice and Post for All Businesses in Ohio Bears the Work of One Dedicated State Mid Level Employee

In 1987, a book was published and it became well known to those in the field of minor labor law was simply titled "teenage employment and the
growing problem of america's school age children"

It hit a major chord within state and national labor departments and caused something to stir in a relatively new state labor department mid level official and administrator, who had come to work with the idea that government and democratic controlled state government was meant to work on behalf of individuals and people for their embetterment and for their protection.

A major but largely hidden problem had developed in America and in Ohio in particular; the fast food industry had found its way not only into the hearts and stomachs of america but into the teen age culture in a major way...combining their need for more and more things and the sense of identity with their own need for cheap labor, late night cheap labor...

In the rise of the materialism of the 1970 and 80's, the american teenager contibuted according to various studies, over 200 billion dollars a year to the american economy in one form or another....

Moreover, they themselves were learning how to be good little capitalists, and to spend their hard earn cash on things that matter little but make one's teen age years seem glorious.

The attraction between making some extra money for those special wheels and those expensive jeans and tennis shoes and the disdain for a boring early morning school class was something that had began to show true signs of a culture clash, literally.

The middle and high school teen agers who worked in the fast food industry, the study demonstated were not only loosing days and classroom time, but it was costing teens at times, their very lives.

The average teen employed in fast food industry in the 1980's was working over 30 hours a week and most often it was at night, even well into the evening. The most common quitting time, in several critical regions was way past twelve midnight, often more like 3:00 am and this was not uncommon.

Teachers and school administrators were the first to realize this as they witnessed child after student after young person, falling off to sleep in their classes.

Most kids were had been doing well, began to show a true drop off in their performance and oftentimes, the inexplicable fall away in grades and performance was later to be determined, to be the very late hours they had worked the night before at the local McDonalds and Wendy's.

After collecting and noting and fielding numerous actual complaints about this issue, a young just turned barely 30 years state administrative assistant began to do something about this issue....he did what he did best and that is he began to study it and then search for solutions from a legislative and policy level approach within the state labor department. Mostly, however, he just made sure he became a student of the issue and paid close attention to the same, something not particularly known among government workers.

In 1988, a break came when Governor Celeste, called upon his various agencies to submit to his communiciations and policy department heads, ideas or "proposals" that would fit his agenda and would be the kinds of issues that would "make an impact nationally"....

The idea of limiting the hours of teenage employment during the school year was instantly received with great attention and solid praise by those in the decision making center of the tight circle of governor's legislative rounds.

What happened next was the proposals were asked for and one person had to write them and supply the concise background for the same. Later, the same person would be called upon to both promote, rationalize and then be chosen to be the one person to lead the effort into and out of the key central House Labor Committee where such proposals rest or fall on their own merits before the very intense scrutiny of a two sided debate, at the highest levels of the legistlative affairs of state government...

At least , in this instance, it did anyway, because when major republican leaders in the House in 1988 were looking for ways to limit the democratic controlled state legislature and the power of the unions and other progressive forces within our state government, they were not they attempted to expose and drill holes through such proposals and brought considerable weight even chamber of commerce weight to bear against such proposals...along with the fast food industry representatives that were carefully acting behinds the scenes to try to stop such legistlative efforts.

Again, one person was chosen to carry the ball forward and was destined to become {due to his early and significant research and understanding and leadership on this issue, within the state labor department] the lead proponent witness for Governor Celeste's administration's labor proposals within a year, Governor Celeste was seriously considering running for President of the United States. That was 1988
and it was a young administrative assistant who would lead this popular and intense Governor's fight to change the state's antiquated labor laws.