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“A few hours ago, Governor Greg Abbott ignored CDC guidance and the advice of local public health experts to prematurely rescind common-sense public safety measures, including the statewide mask mandate. In doing so, Abbott has recklessly put the lives of millions of working Texans at risk. Only 6.5% of Texans are currently vaccinated, cases in Texas remain above where they were when the mask mandate was put in place last fall, and dangerous new COVID variants are spreading throughout the Houston area. This is no time to relax.

As far as we know, no unions or worker advocates were consulted before today’s decision was made. If the Governor had asked, we would have strongly urged him to reconsider, because we know firsthand how important the mask mandate is to our brothers and sisters on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Health care workers, firefighters, transit workers, city employees, grocery workers, and school employees – these are just some of the essential workers who have put themselves at risk to keep all of us safe and our economy on track during the past year. Greg Abbott made it clear today that he has no respect for their service and struggle.

This decision is premature and wildly irresponsible. We condemn Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to rescind his emergency order in the strongest possible terms, because it condemns many of our brothers and sisters to sickness and death. It will reverse progress in combating the virus just as we were beginning to have hope of getting it under control as more Texans and Americans are vaccinated.

It is indeed ironic that Abbott chose Texas Independence Day to announce he is lifting restrictions intended to free us from COVID as early as possible thus ensuring we will remain enslaved to this vicious disease for the foreseeable future.

Greg Abbott may not have listened to our voices, but we’ll continue working together to make them loud enough that he can’t help but hear them.”

Lacy Wolf

President, Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation

The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation (TGCALF), AFL-CIO unites the power of 95 unions across 13 counties to advocate for working families in the Texas Gulf Coast. We mobilize our members and community partners to demand a fair shot at better lives for all working people — regardless of the color of our skin, which country we come from, or whom we love. Learn more: www.gcaflcio.org/

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