Luis Murillo Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 2021)
Main ParticipantLuis Murillo
Legislative ActionSB.21.087 ("Agricultural Workers' Bill of Rights")
SD stands for Senator Danielson, MC stands for “Mr. Chair”, LM stands for Luis Murillo.
SD: Thank you Mr. Chair, if I could please get Luis Murillo to come forward?
MC: Mr. Murillo?
LM: Hello can you hear me?
MC: Yes Mr. Murillo! Please introduce yourself and proceed to testimony.
LM: My name is Luis Murillo and I reside in the San Luis Valley. I am a regional organizer for Project Protect and a middle school principal. I would like to give testimony to inform you on the impact that housing and low wages have had on families in the valley. Farmworkers work hard and long hours, often more than 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. When the pandemic started affecting the San Luis valley, I, as a school principal, had the privilege of working from home while they kept working. The sorting line and the potato sellers do not allow for distancing. Pretty soon we had outbreaks in our area, we heard from workers, "I'd died of COVID and a family died of hunger." People were scared of speaking up because they fear retaliation and losing their job. Housing for agricultural workers is inadequate and during COVID, workers endangerd their lives. Center (Colorado) has migrant camps where per room where seasonal workers sleep and shower during our heavy season, and in other places two families share one bathroom. These living places make quarantining impossible and COVID soon got into the housing facilities. But even when families live alone, their housing is a hazard. Steph was just 13 years old. She passed away on January 6th from smoke inhalation. Her mother was at work while she stayed home watching her younger siblings and attempting to do homework. Her death could have been avoided if the trailer she lived in had appropriate windows so that the families would not have to run many heaters to make it through the freezing winter temperatures. To afford better housing, workers need the same wage protections as other Colorado workers. Center's school district is the poorest district in the state as measured by the number of students who qualify for free or reduced school lunch per population. The pandemic has shone a light on this issue even more. As organizers we have delivered and handed out about 4,000 boxes of food. The boxes of food have gone to the people who make the food. Again, I am a proud middle school principal. The pandemic and these inequities are causing my students to come to school not ready to learn. Students are bringing trauma, anxiety, stress, and depression, which is leading to the learning gap widening. This bill will ensure that workers enjoy the same minimum wage protections and ability to work together to improve their work and housing conditions as all other Colorado workers. Therefore, I urge the committee to support Senator Danielson and SB21-087. Thank you.
MC: Thank you. Uh, is there any questions for Mr. Murillo? Thank, Thank you Mr. Murillo for your testimony, Senator Danielson?