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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Today is the last Dallas City Council meeting of the year and this morning members approved an ordinance that supporters’ hope will save lives.
The council approved an ordinance requiring that manual labor workers get rest breaks. The measure means construction workers and others working outdoors will now be guaranteed a 10-minute break for every four hours of work.
Opponents to the measure had argued that it would end up costing construction companies too much money. Council member Lee Kleinman had been opposed from the beginning. “Vote against the ordinance so that we can have an honest, clear discussion about a compromise,” he urged to no avail.
There were a few dozen people, with the “Workers Defense Project”, who were among those cheering in the city council chambers when the ordinance passed. A representative with the Project explained, “We’ve had a lot of hear-related illnesses documented here in the emergency departments in Dallas. There have been over 164 cases of heat exhaustion, 31 cases of heat stroke [and] two heat-related fatalities.”
Loved ones of Roendy Granillo were at Dallas City Hall as well. The 25-year-old construction worker died of heat stroke in July.
Roendy’s 11-year-old sister, Jasmine, spoke about what the changes mean to her and her family. “He helped us a lot. It’s good knowing that his death wasn’t buried down… and it was brought to life.”
Many of the North Texas workers are undocumented and say they have been afraid to come forward to try and get help — until now.
The City of Austin has a similar rest break ordnance.
Also at the Dallas City Council agenda today, members will consider if they should purchase land for a Dallas Love Field Airport expansion. Council members will also decide whether or not to allocate money for security improvements at Dallas Police Department headquarters.
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