LULAC CONDEMNS ACTIONS BY TEXAS GOVERNOR AND BIG BUSINESS TO ELIMINATE WATER BREAKS FOR WORKERS AMID RECORD HEAT
Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Denounces Deliberate Denial of Humane Treatment as a Potential Death Sentence for Latinos
June 20, 2023
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Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation's oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, vehemently condemns the actions taken by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his supporters with the signing of House Bill 2127. This legislation, which eliminates allowing cities to order water breaks for workers in the scorching Texas heat, is a potential denial of basic human decency and tantamount to a potential death sentence for Latino and Texas workers.
LULAC National President, Domingo Garcia, states, "Governor Greg Abbott and his supporters of House Bill 2127 will go down in modern history as the heartless politicians who turned Texas into a plantation/patron 1900's system once again. They will be stained with the same degree of criminal intent if workers die of heat strokes. To deny water breaks to a construction worker toiling in the 100-degree-plus heat is shameful and criminal. While they govern from cooled air-conditioned offices, the 'help' those who build their houses, tend to the crops, and ensure they are comfortable, are at risk of collapsing from heat exposure and exhaustion. LULAC strongly denounces this barbaric and deliberate act of playing politics with lives, denying even the simplest measure of compassion to another living soul, most Latinos, and Blacks. Texas is witnessing one of the darkest periods in its modern history when step-by-step, the Republican extremists are weaponizing their entrusted power into hateful, abusive work practices."
This week alone, temperatures in Texas soared beyond the 100-degree mark for several consecutive days, subjecting workers to extreme and dangerous heat conditions. Published reports have projected that Texas will likely witness the highest number of heat-related deaths in recent memory. It is crucial to acknowledge that the most affected by these harsh working conditions are Latinos and Blacks, who already face disproportionate economic and social hardships.
Labor groups, such as the AFL-CIO, have joined LULAC in condemning Governor Abbott's signing of HB 2127. They accuse the Republican leadership of using the pretext of uniformity in laws while stripping away local ordinances that protect workers' well-being. These ordinances in some municipalities include provisions for 10-minute water breaks to allow workers to hydrate and cool down.
Meteorologists confirm that the Texas heat index, which accounts for temperature and humidity, hovers above 105 to 107 degrees, starting as early as 11 AM and extending through 5 or 6 PM. This relentless heat poses severe health risks and dangers to workers laboring in outdoor industries.
"LULAC urges all workers to take precautions to safeguard themselves from the Texas heat while working outdoors," says Robert Tellez, newly elected Texas LULAC state director. "We encourage workers to carry water at all times, periodically soak themselves, and wear protective clothing to shield themselves from the scorching sun and its overwhelming effects. It is essential to prioritize self-care and protect oneself from the hazardous consequences of working under extreme heat conditions," adds Tellez.
LULAC remains steadfast in its commitment to defending the rights and well-being of Latino workers and communities across Texas and the United States. We call upon all Texans to unite and demand that their elected officials take a stand against this inhumane treatment. Together, we can ensure that every worker receives the dignity, respect, and protection they deserve in the workplace.