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

Areas in southwest Texas experienced all-time high temperatures on Thursday and Friday.
Areas in southwest Texas experienced all-time high temperatures on Thursday and Friday.Go Nakamura/Reuters
  • 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 is currently first nationwide for heat-related workplace deaths, the Texas Tribune reported.

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 heat wave sweeps 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 have said the intent was to eliminate local regulations in favor of statewide policies, the Huffington Post reported.

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Meanwhile, James Dixon — the president of the NAACP Houston — condemned the bill, according to the 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, the deputy director of policy and politics at the Texas AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions, told the Texas Tribune that 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 reported.

This summer will prove especially brutal, with temperatures in southern Texas hitting record highs on Thursday and Friday. Heat indexes across the region are reaching 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 UPS on negotiations to install air conditioning in all delivery vans, the insides of which the union has said can reach over 120 degrees, CNN reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider