Allegations of child labor — not evidence, but mere allegations — and those who’ve spent years, even generations, building a reputation face the ruin of all they’ve labored for. This speaks of something terribly wrong.
Child labor — filthy conditions, dangerous situations, children deprived of the right to an education, forced labor... It was such conditions that fostered many of the present day child labor laws. But was this the experience of all children whose life included “labor” in varying degrees and conditions?
The issue of child labor requires mature thought. It requires a look into the past — both at the abuses and the successes. To say that all labor was abusive is to deny one of the most fundamental pillars of this nation’s greatness. There’s just too much history and personal testimony to ignore — then and even now. Such a shallow view as the news headlines present overlooks the real issues.
The fact that companies such as Sundance would drop us on a mere allegation from a Tabloid — with no evidence or even a report from government officials — reveals the sad reality that America is losing its inherent rights, and is succumbing to the manipulative powers of persuasion from the media — the type of persuasion that is devoid of mature thought, waved in the faces of cognitive people with good intentions only to intimidate them into thinking they are doing wrong.
Where is the abuse of children? Is it labor that abuses children? Or is it children that are left to themselves that are the abused ones? There is a Proverb that says, “A child left to himself brings shame to his parents.” America is groaning under the weight of children who cannot pay attention because no one will take the time to pay attention to them — for so many of them are too busy working in occupations where there is no room for children. But who is facing this squarely — this attention deficit disorder — other than certain pharmaceutical companies that make fortunes from a generation dependent on Ritalin and Prozac?
The Encarta Desk Encyclopedia in its introduction to an article on child labor says this:
Child Labor — a term used to denote the employment of minors generally, especially in work that may interfere with their education or endanger their health. Throughout the ages and in all cultures children joined with their parents to work in the fields, in the marketplace, and around the home as soon as they were old enough to perform simple tasks. The use of child labor was not regarded a social problem until the introduction of the factory system.
We have our children’s future and welfare in mind when we set about to do business. The businesses we run are designed to complement and enhance the education of our children. The atmosphere we work in is in no way a detriment to their health. Look around the building you are standing in today. This is a building designed for those that matter most — our people. Before this building existed as a Common Sense facility, we functioned out of another unique facility that was also designed with the same quality of life in mind — a skin care cottage industry that we set up in a former grocery store in a residential neighborhood. That facility is still functioning today. Our success in that facility, due in part to our work for Origins, created a problem — there was no more room to expand.
Since the quality of life of our workers is a deeply held conviction, rather than a conveniently held opinion, we were not going to sacrifice that quality of life for the prospect of an increased economy. Origins respected that conviction, and we respected their business integrity, and thus found a way to work together to meet each other’s objectives.
Origins stated that when they saw children in our facility, we gave insufficient answers. We respect their decision to terminate their relationship with us. Origins as a corporation cannot assume the risk of association with an entity like ours that comes so close to the limits of the letter of the law. We aren’t afraid of that risk, for we understand the spirit of the law. Despite the termination, we still hold Estée Lauder and Origins in high regard due to their business integrity, and have reason to believe that they will continue to respect us as well.
We welcome the visit of Labor Department officials. In fact we have already met with them, and sense in them what we have always believed about true public servants. And that’s a willingness to work with people to help them to understand the law and be in full compliance. We may not know all the complexities of the law, but we do understand the spirit of the law, and therefore say, as we have said before, We Make No Apology.