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  5. Greg Abbott has cut required water breaks for Texas construction workers and labor advocates say it could kill them

Greg Abbott has cut required water breaks for Texas construction workers and labor advocates say it could kill them

Katie Hawkinson   

Greg Abbott has cut required water breaks for Texas construction workers and labor advocates say it could kill them
  • Greg Abbott signed a bill cutting regulations statewide, including multiple mandating water breaks.
  • "We will see more deaths," the deputy director of policy and politics at the Texas AFL-CIO said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Tuesday that eliminated ordinances across the state requiring water breaks for construction workers — all while a record-setting heatwave sweeps across the state.

The law — which takes effect September 1 — particularly impacts ordinances in Austin and Dallas that mandate construction employees take at least ten minutes every four hours to drink water and cool off, according to the Texas Tribune. Supporters of the bill say the intent was to eliminate local regulations in favor of state-wide policies, the Huffington Post reports.

Meanwhile, Bishop James Dixon — President of the NAACP Houston — condemned the bill, according to local news outlet KHOU 11.

"These bills are a threat to democracy," he told the outlet. "They're a threat to civil rights and human rights."

Ana Gonzalez, deputy director of policy and politics at the Texas AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions, told the Texas Tribune the bill may prove fatal for construction workers.

"We are talking about a human right," Gonzalez said. "We will see more deaths, especially in Texas' high temperatures."

Texas has the highest rate of heat-related workplace deaths, the Texas Tribune reports.

This summer will prove especially brutal, with southern Texas hitting record highs on Thursday and Friday. Heat indexes across the region are reaching into the 120s, with forecasts predicting temperatures and humidity to continue peaking through at least June 25, the Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, heat-related safety measures are a key point of contention for industries across the nation this summer.

The Teamsters union reached a tentative agreement last week with the United Parcel Service on negotiations to install air conditioning in all delivery vans, which the union says can reach over 120 degrees, according to CNN.




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