Among its biggest changes, the bill would:
- Require farms to pay workers the state minimum wage of $12.32 an hour, and not just the federal wage of $7.25
- Allow agriculture employees to join unions
- Require overtime pay for agriculture workers
- Require meal breaks and rest periods
- Limit the use of short-handled tools, except for organic operations and in some other specific cases
“No workers are any more or less unique, no less human, no less deserving of these basic rights,” said Rep. Karen McCormick, a Democratic sponsor who chairs the House Agriculture Committee. Other sponsors included Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Sens. Dominick Moreno and Jessie Danielson.
Advocates described workers enduring long shifts without water or restrooms and suffering lasting injuries from the use of short-handled tools — all made worse because workers are afraid to speak up.
“Farmworkers were intentionally excluded from the laws that provide basic worker protections in order to preserve a system built on the racially motivated exploitation of farmworkers and domestic servants for their cheap labor,” said Jennifer Rodriguez of Colorado Legal Services, at an earlier committee hearing.
After Months Of Debate, Agriculture Workers Are Set To Gain New Rights In Colorado
June 7, 2021
Colorado Public Radio