Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Rep. Greg Casar celebrates proposed OSHA rule protecting workers from extreme heat

July 3, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Representative Casar

AUSTIN, Texas – Today, Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas) celebrated the announcement of a new federal heat rule proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers from the extreme heat — as extreme weather becomes more common in states like Texas under the climate crisis.

The Biden Administration’s announcement comes just one year after Casar’s all-day thirst strike with Texas workers on the sunny steps of the U.S. Capitol, and just two weeks after OSHA visited Austin to talk with workers about heat protections. The rule-making process for OSHA can typically take seven years, but with so many workers’ lives at stake, the Department of Labor and OSHA prioritized and expedited the new federal heat rule.

“For decades, workers have been organizing for federal protections from the extreme heat. Despite opposition from big corporations, these working families are finally winning the protections they deserve,” said Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas). “Greg Abbott tried to take rest breaks away from everyday Texans, but now we’re one step closer to securing heat protections for all Americans on the job. Employers can adopt OSHA’s proposed rule and protect their workers today. For those workplaces who don’t, I will work with the Biden Administration to finalize this rule as soon as possible.”

The federal heat rule proposed by OSHA will protect tens of millions of American workers who face extreme heat on the job outdoors and indoors. The heat rule is expansive, and it would finally give American workers the right to rest, shade, and water. Casar said this continues to prove that President Joe Biden is the most pro-worker president in generations.

Background: 

In 2010 at the age of 21,Casar led a thirst strike on the steps of Austin City Hall with Workers Defense Project to call for rest and water break protections. Austin passed rest and water break protections that year. Casar then helped pass local rest and water break protections in Dallas in a multi-year campaign that culminated in 2015.

In July 2023,Casar held a nine-hour thirst strike with Texas workers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and urged Joe Biden and Department of Labor Acting-Secretary Julie Su to protect workers prior to Texas House Bill 2127 becoming law. The state law, championed by Governor Greg Abbott, eliminated local protections against extreme heat such as Austin and Dallas ordinances that require water breaks for workers.

Days after Casar’s thirst strike, Biden announced new executive actions to protect workers from extreme heat, including increased enforcement of heat-safety violations by the Department of Labor. He highlighted that his Administration’s actions were for workers “who literally risk their lives working all day in blazing heat, and in some places don’t even have the right to take a water break. That’s outrageous.”

Just two weeks ago, Casar welcomedAssistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Doug Parker to Austin for a labor town hall with 100+ Texas union leaders and workers. Parker shared that the Biden Administration would soon announce a federal rule to protect workers from extreme heat on the job.

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