Colorado agricultural workers’ rights bill looks for balance

Local News

LA SALLE, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recently signed into law Senate Bill 87, the agriculture workers’ rights bill, but not all farmers are happy with the new law.

FOX31’s Dan Daru went to Strohauer Farm, where the workday starts around 6 a.m., to find out how this will impact workers.

“We grow potatoes, onions, corn, wheat. That’s pretty much it,” owner Harry Strohauer said.

During harvest time, which is right now, the days are long.

“I mean that’s the nature of the business. We just put in long hours,” Strohauer said.

This agriculture workers’ rights law will change how much farm workers earn, says Amber Strohauer.

“So much of our team want to work extended hours. And so, by limiting them, you’re limiting their paychecks ultimately,” she said.

Colorado Sen. Jessie Danielson, who authored the bill, said Colorado farm workers were excluded from minimum wage and excluded from labor organizing as well.

“These workers have been excluded from overtime protection for a long time, so it’s not that they won’t be allowed to work long hours – it’s that for the first time ever time they will be eligible to earn overtime,” Danielson said. 

”(Agriculture) is hard work and it is long hours,” Amber Strohauer said.

And so is crafting a bill to please both sides.

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