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Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Denounces State Ban Against Water and Shade Breaks Despite Record-Setting Heat in 2023 and Forecast for This Year

April 16, 2024
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Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens vehemently condemns Governor Ron DeSantis' recent actions, which pose a grave threat to the health and safety of Latino essential workers in the state. Last Thursday's signing of a bill banning local governments from mandating heat and water breaks for outdoor workers directly endangers the lives of thousands of workers, particularly in industries such as construction and farming.

"National LULAC strongly opposes the actions of Governor Ron DeSantis that endanger the health and lives of our Latino essential workers who have to toil in Florida's weather," says Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President. "The state ranks third hottest in the United States and recorded the highest temperatures ever in Florida this past July and August. DeSantis is trading money for misery or worse that people will suffer, and Floridians should decry this injustice," adds Garcia.

This bill was enacted as a direct response to Miami-Dade County's initiative to enforce shade and water breaks for construction, farm, and other outdoor workers. With Miami-Dade estimating a workforce of over 325,000 individuals in these sectors alone, it is evident that such protections are crucial for safeguarding the well-being of workers in Florida.

"We will hold him accountable, as well as all those employers who force workers to go nonstop during their shifts," says Lydia Medrano, LULAC national vice president for the Southeast. "It is inhumane to deny workers water and shade breaks when they must endure hotter temperatures and Florida's high humidity. They are human beings too, and their lives matter more than profit," adds Medrano.

However, with the enactment of this bill, Florida's 66 other counties are now prohibited from implementing similar protections for outdoor workers. This decision directly undermines the safety and dignity of workers across the state, prioritizing profit over human lives.

"This is a crime against humanity, sentencing many of our most vulnerable and essential workers to inhumane conditions, physical injuries, and deaths," says Eliseo Santana Jr., Florida LULAC State Director. "Government is supposed to protect people, not make it legal to mistreat them," he adds.

Florida LULAC urges Governor DeSantis to reconsider his stance and prioritize the well-being of all Floridians, regardless of their occupation or background. Furthermore, we call upon state lawmakers to repeal this harmful legislation and enact policies prioritizing workers' health and safety. In solidarity with Latino essential workers and all workers across Florida, we stand firm in our commitment to fight against unjust policies that endanger lives and perpetuate exploitation.




The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 535 Councils and 145,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/