Colorado lawmakers are looking to expand labor laws that will affect all areas of the workforce, but especially construction, as they seek to raise minimum wage and worker protections.
Currently, construction and agriculture are exempt from many of these laws, and Colorado is trying to end that exemption.
"It demonstrates a huge, gaping hole in our minimum wage and overtime protections," said David Seligman, executive director of Towards Justice, a workers-rights group.
The minimum wage has been a focus of such groups, since a 2016 referendum voted to increase the minimum to $12 an hour. In the city of Denver, workers are to be paid a $15 minimum, per the city’s new guidelines.
Still, some say that while there will be a large impact on industries like restaurants, there won’t be a large impact on construction, because the labor shortage has already forced companies to raise their wages past the point of the suggested minimums.
And there are economists and industry leaders who say that raising minimum wages will be worse for workers in the long run, as it will force low-margin businesses out of the market.
“The logic there just simply doesn’t work,” says Nick Hoover the government affairs advisor of the CRA.
To learn more about these labor changes, check out CPR News.