UPDATE: Bosco's owner responds to child labor violation allegations
John Weddleton, an Anchorage Assembly man who ran afoul of child labor laws, says there were two incidents where 15-year-old workers incorrectly filled out time cards or worked longer hours than they should have.
There was also an instance where a 15-year-old threw trash bags into a dumpster at the Dimond Center, Weddleton said.
Weddleton is the owner of Bosco's, a group of retail stores in Anchorage specializing in comics, cards, games and pop culture collectibles.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor say Weddleton violated child labor law by requiring a 15-year-old worker to load an industrial-grade trash compactor as part of his regular duties. That's prohibited by law for workers under 18 years old.
The department also cited Bosco's for employing two 15-year-olds outside of allowable time standards for children under 16 years of age. The teen employees worked longer than three hours on a school day and later than 7 p.m. during the school year.
Weddleton said the company didn't catch the mistakes and should have.
"We've paid the fines. We've moved on," Weddleton said.
Weddleton said he likes to hire young workers to give them a shot at employment. But Bosco's doesn't "hire a lot of young labor because the restrictions are very limiting," he said
Weddleton expressed frustration that the Department of Labor issued a press release about the matter and that KTUU published a story about it.
"It must be a slow news day," he said.
A spokesman for the Department of Labor says his office regularly issues press releases about wage and hour violations.
"Child labor violations makes this newsworthy," said Leo Kay, regional public affairs director for the Labor Department.
Kay said he wasn't aware Weddleton was an Anchorage Assembly member until contacted by a reporter.
A member of the Anchorage Assembly has agreed to pay a civil penalty for violating child labor laws.
John Weddleton, owner of Bosco’s, agreed to pay a $4,650 fine as the result of a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into child labor and overtime violations at his company, a group of retail stores in Alaska specializing in comics, cards, games and pop culture collectibles, according to a news release. He also paid $126 to two workers in lost overtime wages, and committed to training all employees on child labor laws and hazardous occupations. He will also provide managers and supervisors training on federal recordkeeping, minimum wage and overtime regulations, and has agreed to include the department’s website in the Bosco employee handbook to give staff consistent access to all regulatory guidance.
A Labor Department investigation revealed Bosco’s violated child labor law by requiring a 15-year-old worker to load an industrial-grade trash compactor as a regular part of his duties.
The Department’s Wage and Hour division also cited the company for employing two 15-year-olds outside of allowable time standards for children under 16 years of age.
The minors worked longer than three hours on a school day and later than 7 p.m. during the school year, both of which federal labor law prohibits.
Investigators also found overtime and record keeping violations.
KTUU reached out Weddleton for comment but he could not be immediately contacted.