Clergy and institutional leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith are preparing to deliver a letter to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of the Dallas City Council calling for adequate rest breaks for all Dallas construction workers. You may DOWNLOAD a copy of the draft letter in PDF, and the full text of the letter is quoted below. If you are a clergy member or institutional leader of any DAI member institution, you are invited to add your name as a signatory to that letter by completing the linked FORM or by calling the DAI office between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Thursday, at 214-689-5988.
The full text of the draft letter will be printed on the letterhead of Dallas Area Interfaith.
Dear Mayor Rawlings and the Members of Dallas City Council:
We, the undersigned organizations, write to urge you to support a rest break ordinance for Dallas construction workers.
Dallas is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and has one of the highest rates of new construction in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. census, roughly 225,000 construction workers live and work in the Dallas Metroplex. Yet, these men and women are laboring in the most deadly state in the country to work in construction. Build a Better Texas: Construction Worker Conditions in the Lone Star State, a 2013 study published by the University of Texas-‐Austin, Build a Better Texas: Construction Working Conditions in the Lone Star State, found that 33% of Dallas construction workers do not receive rest breaks, and 12% have witnessed a coworker faint on the job due to heat exhaustion.
The importance of regular rest breaks for workers is undeniable. Construction workers engage in strenuous physical activity and often labor in extreme heat. Under such conditions, regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and cool off in the shade are critical to ensure that workers perform their jobs safely and effectively. Working without rest dramatically increase one’s risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. Yet these heat-‐related illnesses are entirely preventable if workers are given sufficient rest breaks during the workday.
We believe that rest breaks are a basic human right. Yet there is no state or federal law mandating breaks for workers. Instead, employers are simply expected to do the right thing. Although many responsible construction businesses do already provide regular rest breaks to their workers, too many employers in our community do not.
For these reasons, we ask that City Council take action to guarantee all Dallas construction workers at least ten minutes of rest for every four hours of work. We ask this out of deep respect for the men and women who build the City of Dallas, as well as the many honorable construction employers who already prioritize the health and safety of their employees.
Passing a rest break ordinance in Dallas will have an extraordinary impact on the physical and economic welfare of Texas construction workers and their families. These men and women build our homes, our offices, and our schools. They deserve dignity and respect. Join us in standing with Dallas construction workers by recognizing their basic right to rest.
cc: Pro Tem Mayor Tennell Atkins; A.C. Gonzalez, City Manager; RyanS. Evans, First Assistant City Manager