Reps. Labrador, Poliquin Reintroduce the Future Logging Careers Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Raúl Labrador (ID-01), member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (ME-02) today announced the reintroduction of the Future Logging Careers Act. The Future Logging Careers Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to allow 16 and 17 year olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision.
“Idaho’s family owned and operated timber companies are a vital part of our economy and an important part of our history. This bill will allow parents to train the next generation of loggers and business owners,” said Rep. Labrador. “This bill solves a problem that is plaguing an entire industry across the whole country. I look forward to working with Rep. Poliquin and Chairwoman Foxx to advance this legislation to support family businesses and expand opportunities for young people to secure good-paying jobs in Idaho.”
“Major advances have been made in Maine’s logging industry in recent years that have drastically improved worker safety,” said Rep. Poliquin. “Unfortunately, outdated regulations from Washington haven’t kept up, preventing young Mainers from pursuing careers in the trade in Maine, which largely consists of family-run businesses that have operated for generations in our State. I’m proud to join Congressman Labrador in pushing forward this important legislation to give young Mainers the opportunities to pursue a career path in logging, while also helping to maintain jobs in the industry in Maine for many more generations to come.”
“We strive to operate safely and want to be able to pass along this generation’s skills in professional harvesting to our next generation,” said Shawn Keough, executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho. “This bill will allow us to train those who wish to follow in their family’s proud tradition. We applaud Congressman Labrador for his leadership.”
“Timber harvesting has a long and storied history in the State of Maine,” said Dana Doran, Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (PLC). Doran added, “it is a legacy industry in Maine consisting of family based businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation which are responsible for over 7,000 jobs and the contribution of $882 million annually to the Maine economy. The Future Logging Careers Act will ensure that family based businesses in the State of Maine can sustain themselves for the long term. Congressman Poliquin should be applauded for his leadership on this issue because without common-sense legislation like this, the future of this industry will continue to be at risk.”
Timber harvesting operations are similar to family farms with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that requires young men and women to learn the intricacies of the business prior to the age of 18. However, young men and women in families who own and operate timber harvesting companies are denied the opportunity to work and learn the family trade until they reach adulthood. It is supported by over 30 logging industry groups and companies, including the American Loggers Council (ALC), a non-profit organization representing timber harvesters in 30 states.