Anita Rodriguez Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 17, 2021)


Main Participant

Anita Rodriguez

Legislative Action

SB.21.087 ("Agricultural Workers' Rights")

Original Language

English

Transcription

[A. Rodriguez]
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on support of SB.087. My name is Anita Rodriguez, and I am a promotora for PPPN Network. I am a crossing guard and president of the parent group called PICS, Parents Involved in Center Students. I want to talk to you a little bit about Senate Bill 21.087, Workers’ Rights. I want to talk to you about workers' living conditions, their ability to access healthcare, food, and their fear of losing their jobs if they leave the camp where they live. I have lived in [Center, Colorado] off-and-on for 30 years. When I started working with farm workers, de Salud, um, this was the first time I saw where hundreds of farm workers lived in Center. As I drove–as I drove down the dirt road, I was horrified. I saw a fence that was probably ten-feet tall . . . with barbed wire. It looked like a prison. I felt like I was driving in [Canon City, Colorado] looking at the prison there. I thought to myself: What is the risk? Why do they have fences like this? Within a month, I found out that workers did not have enough food to eat. Employers provided food from the restaurant, but it wasn’t enough. There was a kitchen, but it was not in use. They couldn’t leave the camp under any circumstances to the doctor, gas station, grocery store.
[Zoom connection interference starts].
Only 3 or 4 men each day could leave the camp without . . with hundreds . . they only had to carry a full backpack of food for their . . . that did not have permission.
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The reason they were so afraid was that they would have to have permission, for if not they would get fired; they would lose their visa. This is a–this is how their family survived. The moment when the problem became clearest to me was like: we got called from a H2A worker, telling me he did not . . . feel good. He had bumps all over his body, his lips were swollen, and instead of me just going and taking him, we talked about the security guards, where they were, and–and getting him out without the employer knowing because he was afraid he would get fired. Luckily, they was–this was a day off he had of the week. I was ultimately able to get him to the convenient care, 30 miles away, Ala–in [Alamosa, Colorado] where he was treated. It is horrible that he had to go through something like this where he could lose his job over being sick. This is why the legislation matters so much. It will have to guarantee that this will not happen again. That workers can access food, healthcare, and people can tell them their rights, and won’t have to live with the fear and won’t have to choose between their jobs and their health in the future. Therefore, I urge the committee to support Senator Danielson and Senate Bill 21.087. Thank you for your time.

Translation Language (if available)

N/A

Archivist Notes

Anita testified on March 17, 2021 at 3:20 PM to 3:22 PM for the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

Title

Anita Rodriguez Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 17, 2021)

Subject

Legislative testimony, SB.21.087 (aka "Agricultural Workers' Rights")

Description

Anita Rodriguez provides testimony IN FAVOR of SB.21.087 (aka "Agricultural Workers' Rights") on March 17, 2021. She shares her experience as a Promotora de Salud and PPPN Promotora, witnessing the restricted living conditions of H2A workers in the San Luis Valley. She shares one particular experience of helping a sick H2A worker avoid security guards stationed around his camp in order to sneak him away to a convenient care in Alamosa, Colorado because he was afraid his sickness or seeking healthcare would make him lose his job.

Creator

Anita Rodriguez

Date

March 17, 2021

Contributor

Mitchell Christensen

Format

Coverage

Citation

Anita Rodriguez, Anita Rodriguez Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 17, 2021) March 17, 2021. Esencial Colorado, accessed July 23, 2024, https://esencialcolorado.org/items/show/59