Jim Hightower's Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Top Corporate Executives Should Have to Feel the Summer Heat
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Top Corporate Executives Should Have to Feel the Summer Heat

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Being a lifelong Texan, I’m used to hot summers. But what the hell – 99 degrees in June! Last year, we had 80 days of 100-plus temperatures, and we’re looking at 90 days this year. I can’t moan in self-pity, though, for the globally-warming furnace is now searing the whole country, even in northern climes where people are used to having days in August when they need “summer sweaters.”

As we crank up our air-conditioners, however, let’s pause for a moment to consider some 50 million workers in your and my communities who are exposed throughout the day to the full intensity of the sun’s power. They are roofers and landscapers, warehouse workers and farm laborers, street pavers and letter carriers. These have always been hot jobs, but now they’re deadly—heat kills more Americans today than hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes combined.

So surely there are basic workplace rules assuring that these exposed people get water, shade breaks, etc. No…. and when such humanitarian codes are proposed, industry bosses coldly reject them. For example, after several Texas cities began enacting worker protections, corporate lobbyists rushed to their hireling, Gov. Greg Abbott, who obediently snuck a state pre-emption into law, banning local officials from setting their own heat standards. That year, a record 450 people died of heat exposure in Texas, but Abbott just snarled that his preemption “increases economic liberty.”

Mercifully, President Biden is pushing national heat rules. Of course, industry lobbyists are out to kill his anti-killing reforms, calling them “unreasonably complicated.” Really? Providing water and shade is too perplexing for our corporate geniuses? Why don’t we put them on roofing jobs in August – and let them think about it?

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Jim Hightower's Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Author, agitator and activist Jim Hightower spreads the good word of true populism, under the simple notion that "everybody does better, when everybody does better."