MEDIA ADVISORY: Commissioners Ellis and Briones, County Attorney Menefee, Labor Leaders to Announce Expanded Worker Protections Policy

MEDIA ADVISORY

Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, 2 p.m. 

Harris County Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Lesley Briones, County Attorney Christian Menefee, Labor Leaders to Announce Expanded Worker Protections Policy

Policy Expands Pro-Worker Protections Approved in 2019 to Other County Construction Projects

WHAT: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Lesley Briones will be joined by County Attorney Christian Menefee and labor leaders to announce Commissioners Court’s pending vote on Tuesday, Jan. 10 to expand workers’ protections on County construction projects. The Workers Protection policy will strengthen a measure approved in 2019 for Harvey disaster recovery projects under Opportunity Builds Harris County. The proposed measure will require contractors on Harris County construction projects to certify their safety record for evaluation during the bidding process; ensure all applicable workers receive OSHA-10 training and certification; and make sure all applicable managers receive OSHA-30 training and certification. 

WHO: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Harris County Commissioner Lesley Briones
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee
Linda Morales, Organizing Coordinator, Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation
Martin Trevino, All Team Services
Rixi Castillo, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 10

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 9, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Commissioners Court Chambers | 1001 Preston, 9th Floor, Houston, 77002

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, other county leaders and labor representatives on Monday, Jan. 9 will announce an expanded Worker Protections policy that Commissioners Court will vote on the following day.

“Harris County is making sure working people have access to jobs that provide a safe workplace, good benefits, strong wages and the opportunity to build a better life for their families,” Commissioner Ellis said. “We need a skilled and empowered workforce that can meet our region’s labor demands and help build a thriving, resilient Harris County.”

In 2019, Commissioners Court passed pro-worker policies for Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery projects under Opportunity Builds Harris County. If approved on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the expanded Worker Protection policy – with a few exceptions – will require contractors on Harris County construction projects to certify their safety record for evaluation during the bidding process; ensure all applicable workers receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-10 training and certification; and make sure all applicable managers receive OSHA-30 training and certification. 

Opportunity Builds Harris County is a labor initiative to build a stronger workforce in Harris County for projects that are critical to Harris County’s Harvey recovery and resiliency efforts. Precinct One worked with Harris County departments and labor leaders to develop pro-worker provisions that build and lift up working families. 

In 2019, Commissioners Court approved stronger worker protections on disaster recovery projects. When awarding contracts, Harris County will consider contractor safety records and health care benefits; recommend that all contractors adopt a second-chance hiring policy; and create a new job portal that will offer access to job training and trade apprenticeships. 

“Construction jobs in Texas and the greater Houston area are among the most dangerous in the country with a high number of preventable fatalities and injuries,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Worker safety is essential to a strong workforce. Harris County has a responsibility to help strengthen and protect our workforce. That’s what this policy does.”

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