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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CIRC asks for support of range worker bill = Everyone has the right to decent living conditions, humane treatment!


sheep herder wagon

The Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition (CIRC) is asking for your support of House Bill 1407. This bill will create an advisory council to investigate how our range workers are treated. 

The bill was introduced into the Colorado House Agricultural Committee on Friday! This advisory committee will discuss the basic living of range workers which most of us think is a pretty good idea since these are the guys who make sure we have food on the table.


While the sight of one of the sheep wagons perched in the middle of a field in the high Rocky Mountains may seem idealic, the reality is, many of the workers live in horrid conditions.  Here is what CIRC is after:

  • Allow range workers to receive wages commensurate to those of other foreign agricultural workers working in Colorado under the H-2A visa program.
  • Prohibit employers from keeping a range worker’s personal documents.  These documents are needed for travel purposes and belong to the worker, not the employer.
  • Provide range worker access to bank account information.  The workers have the right to know how much they are being paid and where the money is being kept.
  • Ensure that no work-related expenses are deducted from the range workers pay, and that all deductions are accounted for with receipts. 
  • Allow the range worker a means of communication for safety and to contact family members, at no cost to the employer.  Being in a remote place may be fun for awhile, but the workers have families and children.  It is only reasonable they be allowed to keep in touch.
  • Provide range workers with an informational packet in their native language.

The council will meet four times in the next year to analyze and make recommendations to the Colorado legislature about this critical issue. The advisory council will be appointed by the governor and, in addition to representatives of various government bodies, includes:

  • a person with experience in immigration services,
  • a person of faith,
  • a representative of the agricultural industry,
  • a representative of a migrant worker advocacy group.

    CIRC is asking you to call members of the House Agricultural Committee and ask them to vote YES on HB 1407.

Suggested wording:

You could say: "Hi, Representative __________, my name is ____________ and I am from ____________. I'm asking you to vote yes on HB 1407 to convene a Colorado range worker advisory council. Beginning a discussion regarding the working and living conditions of range workers is critically important in our state. Please vote yes on HB 1407."

Democracy is an advocate protecting the minority from the majority.  Many range workers have no voice in the way they are treated or their living conditions.  Please help these people as they perform a vital service to all of us!

The CIRC Range worker initiative Colorado HB 1407 needs your support.  Even one phone call can make a huge difference.  Will you make one today?  If you can’t call all of the people on the above call list, can you call three?  If you don’t have time for a live voice feel free to leave a message!


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