GOP Governor Accused Of Killing Workers

Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

( – In recent weeks, Texas has been grappling with scorching temperatures, and tragically, a Texas postal worker collapsed and passed away due to the extreme heat. The deceased individual, identified as Eugene Gates Jr., collapsed while delivering mail in Dallas, where temperatures reached a staggering 115°F. Despite efforts by a homeowner to administer CPR, Gates could not be revived.

While the exact cause of his death has yet to be determined, it is worth noting that the heat index in Dallas on that fateful day was the highest recorded in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1980. Unfortunately, Gates’ death is not an isolated incident, as another worker—a 35-year-old utility lineman from West Virginia—also lost his life due to heat-related causes while working to restore power in Texas.

These fatalities have intensified criticism of Governor Greg Abbott’s recent decision to prohibit mandatory water breaks for workers, a move that has sparked outrage among Texas Democrats and workers’ rights advocates. Abbott signed a law on June 13th that effectively revoked city and county ordinances mandating water breaks for construction workers. This action has come under scrutiny, especially considering the oppressive heatwave that has engulfed Texas, with temperatures surpassing 100°F in many areas and millions of people placed under extreme heat warnings.

The legislation, known as House Bill 2127, not only eliminates mandatory rest breaks for construction workers but also nullifies previous ordinances from cities like Austin and Dallas, which required workers to take a 10-minute break every four hours to safeguard their health and well-being. Supporters of the bill argue that it ensures consistency and curbs local officials from overstepping their authority. However, critics, including Texas Democrats, contend that the law not only has detrimental substantive consequences for economically active municipalities but also violates the principle of local governance, suggesting that decisions should be made by community leaders who possess a deeper understanding of their jurisdictions.

The untimely deaths of these two workers are likely to amplify the pressure on Governor Abbott to reconsider the newly enacted law, as public criticism against it continues to mount. Organizations such as the Texas Union and the Texas American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have expressed condolences for the victims while condemning Abbott’s bill, emphasizing the dangers it poses to workers in extreme weather conditions. The ACLU, in particular, took to Twitter to express their concerns about the ban on rest and water breaks, stating that Abbott is jeopardizing the well-being of Texan workers.

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