Soraya Leon Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 2021)


Main Participant

Soraya Leon (Project Protect promotora) & Tomas (Weld County agricultural worker)

Legislative Action

SB.21.087 ("Agricultural Workers' Bill of Rights")

Original Language

Spanish

Transcription

[Soraya Leon] [original in Spanish/original en espanol]

Translation Language (if available)

English

Translation

Show Translation?
[English translator]
Good day everyone, honorable Senator Rodriguez and members of the Business and Labor Committee. My name is Soraya Leon and I work with Project Protect Food Systems Workers, and I live in Greeley, Colorado; Weld County, Senate District 13. During these months, visiting and speaking with hundreds of agricultural workers, I have been able to verify and create a clear vision of the real situations and challenges that agricultural workers experience in this state. That is why I reiterate my support for the Colorado Agricultural Workers’ Rights Act–SB.21.087–and I want to give testimony to inform you on why this law is necessary for agricultural workers to have access to health services and healthy working conditions. One of the most relevant needs for our agricultural workers is the right to have good health and access to basic care. Given that their work is excessively exhausting, both due to long working hours as well as the rudimentary–sometimes inflating and orthodox conditions, for farm workers having good and stable health is a real luxury. Health in this context represents an almost impossible desire to achieve. It is a fact that their salaries do not reach the minimum, so they cannot afford the costs of health care that are truly necessary for them. In addition to this reality, we add the fact that the orthodox conditions of their work threaten their health on a day–a daily basis. Due to the long hours, from 12 to 15 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, no rights to breaks during the day and often no time to eat lunch, as Mr. Tomas, a farm worker, tells us: this is causing fatigue to accumulate and the pain of hunger becomes permanent. Finally this causes his digestive, skeletal, and muscular systems to deteriorate–a reality that is not unknown by doctors or nurses serving immigrant farm workers. Unfortunately there are other factors that threaten the health of agricultural workers: the lack of necessary tools or the poor condition of these [tools] make their work really difficult and exhausting. As we can see, it is common to see their hands and backs atrophied with quite limited mobility. I have heard them mention that they have deformities from the cold by having to harvest quickly without gloves with–um, forgive me–with tools and ways of working that force them to be kneeling and crouching all of the time. These agricultural workers express that there is no way for their arms and hands to improve without the necessary breaks. They have to get used to living with the pain. A pain that Mr. Tomas describes as: “one that stuns and burns permanently with an intensity of 8 to 10 [on a pain scale],” which many times does not let him sleep. It is also common to hear agricultural workers say: “you leave your life here. For the love of the land, you lose your body.” Unfortunately, most agricultural workers only see temporary improvements if they–uh–continue to work the same way without these processes improving. Agricultural workers do not have the right to express anything about it without retaliation because if one of them complains, they are immediately fired and not paid for what they have worked. With great disappointment, I found that it hurts one’s soul to observe the primitive and inflating conditions that agricultural workers live here in Colorado every day. For which, I appeal to your integrity and ask the members of the committee to support Senator Danielson and Sb.21.087–the Colorado Agricultural Worker Rights–uh–Act.

Archivist Notes

Soraya testified on March 17, 2021 at 3:23 PM to 3:27 PM for the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

Title

Soraya Leon Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 2021)

Subject

Legislative Comment, SB.21.087 ("Agricultural Workers' Bill of Rights")

Description

Soraya Leon, a PPPN Promotora, gives testimony in favor of SB.21.087, sharing her experiences of witnessing adverse working conditions affecting the health of immigrant agricultural workers in Colorado.

Creator

Soraya Leon

Date

March 17, 2021

Contributor

Mitchell Christensen

Format

Coverage

Citation

Soraya Leon, Soraya Leon Testimony for SB.21.087 (March 2021) March 17, 2021. Esencial Colorado, accessed July 22, 2024, https://esencialcolorado.org/items/show/60