Last week, the Texas AFl-CIO launched a new letter campaign to push Gov. Greg Abbott to include statewide heat protections for Texas workers in the upcoming special session call.
This summer, Texas workers have been exposed to some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Texas. In these types of working conditions, basic safety provisions like rest breaks, protective equipment, clean drinking water, and emergency first aid are critical provisions to ensure safe workplaces. For a significant portion of the state’s workforce, these protections remain out of reach.
Currently, no state or federal law protects workers laboring in extreme weather conditions or gives them the right to take a break when they need to drink water or rest for a moment in the shade. In response, Texas cities have implemented these types of protections, but these local rules will be rescinded on Sept. 1 as a result of HB 2127, the “Death Star” bill by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), which preempts or bans certain local ordinances. HB 2127 will put even more workers in danger.
At least 42 construction workers died in Texas between 2011 and 2021 from environmental heat exposure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Multiple workers have died from heat exposure in Texas in just the last month alone. Cities including Houston and San Antonio are challenging the “Death Star” bill in a lawsuit against the state, claiming the bill is an improper attempt by the Texas Legislature to rewrite the Texas Constitution, which gives authority to home-rule cities to adopt ordinances to meet the changing needs of residents.
To prevent impending future deaths, Abbott must act now and add legislation that requires rest and water breaks to a special session call.
With a few clicks, you can send your own letter to the governor telling him to respect workers. Click here to send a letter now.