"Why did the Deptartment of Labor decide to take no action against TLC or the Gosselins if things were as bad as Jodi and Kevin made it out to be?" has been the mantra of many people out there who are suspicious of Jodi and Kevin's claims. They justify the Department's investigation, which didn't even include so much as a home visit or any kind of fines for past violations, as proof Jodi and Kevin are lying.
The Kreider's allegations (which would be defamation if not true .... still waiting for a lawsuit by the Gosselins or TLC), as well as the Department of Labor signing off on what the Kreiders say they saw, are both possible. The reason? The Department of Labor has a conflict of interest in "investigating" TV/film productions.
To understand this, you must realize that film production is a lucrative industry that almost all states are trying desperately to attract. In recent decades as California has tightened child labor laws (rightly so and knowing full well it would cause some productions to leave the state), labor laws in general, and increased taxes, filmmakers have fled to other states (often Utah, or the South) and even countries (almost always Canada), to get a better deal, to be able to work longer hours, to save money. States now realize that Hollywood is no longer first on the list to shoot a movie. Any state is up for grabs with the right incentives.
Why is filming so great for a state? First, it creates jobs and revenue and cash flow. While an average crew may only consist of 100 people, there are 500 other locals behind those 100 people--from the corner restaurant that caters the meals every day, to all the people responsible for fees and permits for various locations, to the police officers who provide security and direct traffic. Production equals jobs and money, hands down. Jon and Kate brought some jobs to PA, although this isn't the main reason the state wants them.
Second, and the real reason PA loves Jon and Kate, is, "in theory," production brings good will to the state. People watch a good-looking couple from PA with cute kids living the simple life in a quiet American town and their opinion of PA goes up. People see cute pit stops like Crayola Factory and Dutch Wonderland, and tourism goes up. Even if Jon and Kate are fighting and the kids are grouchy and crying, the Strasbourg Railroad engineer still looks like he's having a great time, and people still want to visit him. In later years, people saw beautiful rural proprieties and sweeping land, and for cheap (try getting the McMansion in California for anything less than $6 million), which made PA seem like a great place to move to. Jon and Kate were nothing but good for PA's reputation.
Pennsylvania is no longer home to just a few small-time PBS productions. Blockbuster director
M. Night Shyamalan has brought millions and millions in revenue to the state throughout the past several years and is partly responsible for the huge upsurge in film production in PA. The film industry is a hot item right now for PA in a terrible economy. They have every reason to brush aside an investigation, to sweep things under the rug, and to continue to permit laws to be broken, bent and twisted so that productions can continue in their great state. They do not want to sabotage the good will they have with people like Shyamalan, Figure 8, and other filmmakers who often head to PA, by slapping them with fines, shutting them down, or passing laws that restrict them.
But doesn't this logic apply to any kind of industry the Department investigates? Don't they always have an interest in continuing any kind of operation without regulation? Actually, no. The film industry is unique. When the Department investigates mines, they have every incentive to come down hard on any violations. Mines with violations lead to cave ins and death. Death is not good for Pennsylvania. When the Department investigates a grocery store chain and finds health violations, they come down hard on those violations. Health violations cause salmonella. Salmonella is not good for Pennsylvania. But when the Department investigates a film production, there is every incentive to let them go scot free. Reality children are not going to die or get salmonella if they don't fine the production. They'll just continue to work long hours for no pay at the mercy of whoever, with most people never realizing. Only a few kids are hurt, but the rest of PA benefits. And if they fine, penalize, or otherwise punish them for any violations, that production may never come back to PA. In fact, Kate even openly expressed an interest in moving to North Carolina some time back on the show, perhaps because laws are even less strict there. If production laws are too tough in PA, filmmakers will flee PA just like they've fled California. Unfortunatly, production laws are state laws. State hopping for a better deal is not only expected, but it is a fact, a reality, it is what is happening in this industry right now.
What's the solution to this? We can only hope for some basic federal laws to protect all children and discourage state hopping. But at a minimum, an independent organization, such as SAG, should investigate film production violations. Not the state, which has a vested interest in overlooking such violations. And if you think a government organization has never been corrupt, misleading, or inadequate, Google Watergate sometime.