Maine is not the only state where lawmakers are trying to expand rights for farmworkers. Currently, 12 states guarantee collective bargaining rights to such workers. And in 2021, state legislatures with Democratic majorities in Washington and New York passed overtime rights for farmworkers. Colorado has gone the furthest, granting state minimum wage, overtime and organizing rights to agricultural laborers.
Arthur Phillips, a policy analyst with the Maine Center for Economic Policy, said that one-quarter of farmworkers live in poverty — a rate almost four times higher than the rest of Maine.