(Houston, TEXAS) On Friday July 14, 2023, immigrant workers and allies rallied outside Houston City Hall, denouncing Governor Abbott signing HB-2127, a newly-enacted Texas law that will eliminate critical labor and housing protections, including workplace protections that prevent injury and death of immigrant essential workers.
“In the midst of this heat crisis in Texas, leading many workers to perish in these devastating climate conditions, Governor Abbott commits a barbaric act in signing HB-2127, a law which will only lead to more worker deaths by eliminating a 10 minute break for workers to hydrate and continue doing their jobs,” said Teodoro Aguiluz, Executive Director of CRECEN Houston, a member organization of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).
Just two weeks ago, on July 1st, construction worker Felipe Pascual collapsed at a job site in Fort Bend County and later died from hyperthermia caused by the extreme heat.
“The state should be ashamed because Greg Abbott has created a state of inhumanity that kills its own workers – es la ley que mata a trabajadores,” added Aguiluz.
Houston workers, joined by County Commissioners from Harris and Fort Bend Counties, rallied to denounce Greg Abbott’s dehumanizing politics against immigrant, Mexican and latino workers, and called on the Biden Administration and federal agencies to take immediate action to prevent additional workers’ deaths.
“Workers deserve respect because we are human beings,” shared Isabel Ramirez, a Houston construction worker who spoke on behalf of NDLON as she directed her remarks to President Biden. “To you, Mr. President, we invite you to join us in fighting against this law, because as workers, our work will continue in the hot sun, working in the fields, cleaning floors, in all types of workplaces, in all types of construction sites!”
On Friday morning, the groups delivered a letter – signed by two dozen Texas and ally organizations – to White House Domestic Policy Council Advisors, requesting immediate intervention by the Biden Administration, including action by OSHA, and requesting the US President visit Texas to send a message to workers to prevent more deaths.
The letter reads in part:
Where the state government has chosen to abandon workers facing rampant abuse and life-threatening work conditions, the US federal government cannot stand by.
For undocumented workers and families across Texas who have been categorically demonized, targeted and racially profiled by the Texas state government, there is already a severe crisis of workers rights and free speech….
That is why we ask that President Biden… make a personal visit to Houston, to encourage workers to come forward to denounce abusive employers and to assure undocumented workers that they will receive federal government protections if they do come forward.
“The state of Texas should feel ashamed of this inhumane act against the lives of its workers. Today, we are united in our commitment to fight against this injustice, and we are united in calling on President Biden to come and join this effort to denounce this law, this law that kills workers,” added Teodoro Aguiluz of CRECEN.