newt gingrich afcsme child labor laws

Dick Meister: Newt's wacko 18th century idea


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

"Nuts, vicious and wrong." That's what the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees thinks of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's wacko idea of putting kids to work to clean our schools in place of unionized adult janitors. AFSCME is correct, of course. It's a nutty, vicious and wrong idea.

But, gee, putting the kids to work would save money, notes Gingrich. Sure would.  And nothing's more important to politicians like Gingrich. To them, government is not primarily a vehicle to provide essential services to people. It is, as they complain, a vehicle that gobbles up taxpayer money – especially rich taxpayers' money. Read more »