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Críticas: Are we living in neofeudalism?

Locations: Opinion Published

The I-70 corridor and Highway 82 in Colorado has become a hotbed for wage theft, with the working community experiencing the single largest form of it in the area.

Every day, working families from the lower Roaring Fork Valley commute to their places of work, often enduring long drives that can take up to four hours round trip. However, the drive itself is not the only issue; workers’ wages are also heavily impacted.

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For example, imagine a worker who lives in a town in the lower Roaring Fork Valley and commutes to work in an upvalley town. This worker may spend up to four hours a day traveling to and from work, which can add up to a significant amount of time and money lost each week. In many cases, workers are not paid for this time, so they are effectively working for free during their commute.

Additionally, the cost of transportation can also be a financial burden for many workers. Gas prices, car maintenance, and other expenses associated with commuting can quickly add up, leaving many workers struggling to make ends meet. This is particularly true for low-wage workers who may earn just enough to cover their basic living expenses.

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Working communities have found methods to reduce the financial impact of the drive, with positive side effects to boot.

It’s common that housekeepers, construction crews, and service workers alike all carpool to work. And while these workers take part in some of the most sustainable and eco-friendly driving practices, workers are not compensated for the wages lost to the lengthy commute.

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The Roaring Fork Valley is a prime example of neo-feudalism, where working families are forced to make sacrifices just to provide for themselves and their loved ones. The luxury and grandeur of upvalley towns are sustained by the tenacity and endurance of the families downvalley. Workers brave hazardous road conditions in the winter with no extra compensation, and they sacrifice precious time with their families just to make ends meet.

But it’s not just wages that these families are sacrificing. The time spent driving to and from work can be grueling, particularly when you factor in the often-turbulent Glenwood Canyon stretch of I-70 that’s prone to closures and Highway 82. When workers do finally make it home, they often find themselves with little time or energy to spend with their families.

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The Roaring Fork Valley is a prime example of neo-feudalism, with working families forced to make sacrifices just to provide for themselves and their loved ones. It’s a vicious cycle that perpetuates inequality and reinforces the power imbalance between workers and their employers.

Despite these challenges, the working people of Western Colorado are the backbone of the state’s economy. Without them, the ideal Colorado lifestyle—where you can ski and recreate almost limitlessly—would be impossible. And yet, the most sustainable and eco-friendly workers in the valley are the ones being punished the most through lost wages and grueling commutes.

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I envision a Roaring Fork Valley that respects its working communities. One where we value the ingenuity of our immigrant workforce and compensate them properly for their time, effort, and flexibility. Ski towns and tourism may be the backbone of Colorado’s economy, but they would not exist without the hardworking individuals who keep them running day in and day out. As we work towards this vision, we must remember that it is the workers who will make it possible and that we must do everything in our power to support and uplift them in all that they do.

Tags: #commuting #Críticas #neofeudalism #wages #workers
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