Updated: Sep 14
Pray for the Dead Fight Like Hell for the Living
Ricardo Levins Morales
Northland Poster Collective
Circa 1990, Digital Print
In June 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law eliminating the requirement for mandatory water breaks for people who work outdoors. HB 2127—known as the “Death Star” bill—overrides local laws regarding agriculture, finance, business and commerce, insurance, local government, labor, natural resources, property or occupations if they contradict state laws in any way. It will go into effect September 1, 2023.
Local labor ordinances passed in 2010 and 2015 have resulted in a drop of 78 percent in illnesses and 50 percent in deaths since 2011! Those affected include prison, agriculture, construction, utility, post office workers, and many more. HB 2127 is a state-wide ordinance that not only undermines the power of local governments but is deadly.
It should be obvious by now that the climate crisis is causing more frequent and severe weather. As a massive heat wave broils the Southwest region of the United States, this inhumane breach of human and labor rights will undoubtedly kill many. Last month alone, 32 Texas prisoners and at least 13 people outside of prisons died due to hyperthermia. Texas already leads the country in construction worker fatalities due to heat exposure.
The pro-business, anti-people policies of far-right politicians like Abbott are killing people. They are anti-worker, anti-poor, anti-POC, anti-migrant, anti-queer, anti-woman, and anti-life.
But people are fighting back. The city of Houston filed a lawsuit that cites the unconstitutional violation of the bill and hopes to prevent it from ever taking effect.
Heat illness and death is preventable–workers’ health over CEO profits!