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New Houston worker protection program launched

By Ileana Najarro on April 23, 2019

One worker was inside an industrial shredder unjamming the machine that should have been turned off. Another got an SUV dropped on him when a colleague reaching for a cell phone accidentally hit the controls. Another was electrocuted by a hydraulic lift, and another run over by forklift.

More than 100 workers died on the job in Houston in 2018. Houston on average accounts for 20 percent of the state’s workplace deaths. In response, labor leaders, workers’ rights groups, city and congressional officials alike came together on Tuesday to memorialize the dead and announce a pilot program aimed at preventing future fatalities, as well enforcing pay equity for these workers.

“The City of Houston, which still has so much rebuilding to do after Hurricane Harvey, does not want to see another construction worker or any labor worker lose his or her life,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference.

Memorials for Fallen Workers

Nine Houston congregations will hold memorials, prayers or other recognition for the service of fallen workers this weekend:

  • Dominican Sisters of Houston, Saturday, April 27, 4 p.m. Mass. 6501 Almeda Road, Houston, 77021.

  • St. Luke's United Methodist Church Gethsemane, Sunday, April 28, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. 6856 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 77074.

  • Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, altar dedicated to fallen workers, Monday-Sunday, April 22-28. 1900 Bering Drive, Houston, 77057.

  • Christ Church Cathedral, Sunday, April 28, 1 p.m. Spanish service. 1117 Texas Ave., Houston, 77002,

  • St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sunday, April 28, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 1819 Heights Blvd., Houston, 77008.

  • St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Sunday, April 28. 1805 W. Alabama, Houston, 77098.

  • St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m. 4807 San Felipe, Houston, 77056.

  • Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Sunday, April 28, 11612 Memorial Drive, Houston, 77024.

  • First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, Saturday-Sunday, April 27-28. 713-526-5200 for times. 5200 Fannin St., Houston, 77004.

For more information on worker memorials happening across the city on Saturday and Sunday, go to

The Build Houston Better program ensures protections for those working on affordable housing and multifamily housing projects funded by federal rebuilding funds, said Hany Khalil, executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

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