Abbott Orders Raise More Questions Than Answers

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy statement on Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Orders today on plans to reopen Texas during the coronavirus pandemic:

“Today’s announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott answered next to none of the pressing questions working people have about how a reopening of the state will protect them and how Texas will help preserve their livelihoods as the coronavirus moves through our population.”

“The DSHS “guidance” on retail safety is a mishmash of suggestions and mandates, but with no hint of enforceability. The only new information on speeding help to the 1.2 million Texans who have filed for Unemployment Insurance is that the Governor doesn’t seem to understand that the law already mandates a UI tax increase for employers when a state fund kept low by years of stinginess runs out.”

“Gov. Abbott said nothing about paid sick leave — a linchpin of any effort to prevent spread of COVID-19. He said nothing about immigrant workers who lack access to benefits and are desperate about what happens next. He suggested but did not detail the extent to which his orders will override local control on deadlines, enforcement and other key matters.”

“Oh, wait, there was one question Abbott answered. The “Strike Force” members named so far represent the business elite, but not the working families whose lives are at risk if a rollout runs ahead of availability of PPE, testing and tracing for all working people. Until these matters are addressed, the Strike Force is a dream for billionaires and lobbyists, but a nightmare to anyone who works for a living.”