The Essential Workers Board was created by Court Order and is governed by Bylaws adopted on November 30, 2021.  Click here for Spanish translation Bylaws.






The purpose of the Board is to provide feedback and recommendations to DEEO (Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity) and other appropriate County departments on County programs and policies that recognize and support Essential Workers. The Board may also serve in an advisory capacity to the Commissioners Court on such programs, and policies.

Specifically, the HCEWB will encourage and support the development and implementation of programs and policies that:

  • Protect communities, workers, and businesses across Harris County during public health emergencies and other occupational safety and health hazards;
  • Support equitable, cooperative, multi-benefit, and worker-led solutions to achieving protections on the job, including fair wages and benefits and occupational safety and health for all Essential Workers; and
  • Take into account the needs and priorities of Harris County residents and promote safe and healthy workplaces across Harris County.






The HCEWB will work with the DEEO to carry out the following objectives:

Overall Approach and Planning

Provide ongoing evaluation, feedback, and worker expertise on Harris County’s overall approach to protecting Essential Workers’ Rights.

Specific Programs and Policies

Encourage transparency; evaluate and provide feedback on existing and future development and implementation of programs and policies that address Essential Workers’ Rights. Programs and policies include purchasing and contracting policies, workforce development programs, tax abatement and incentive policies, community benefits agreements, distribution of federal COVID-19 relief and recovery funds, disaster preparedness and recovery programs, OSHA trainings, independent monitoring of local, state, and federal public health and labor laws, and inclusive economic development planning.

Essential Worker Insights

Share information, insights, and lived experiences of essential work to assist Harris County in generating reports based on mixed-method, participatory action research to (i) identify areas of concern and (ii) advise and develop recommendations to maximize Essential Workers’ Rights.

Civic Engagement

Serve as a public forum for the discussion and exploration of Essential Workers’ Right and community engagement efforts.


The HCEWB’s responsibilities shall include, among other things:


  • Develop short- and long-term goals to achieve the HCEWB’s purpose and objectives.
  • Prepare and submit an annual report to Commissioners Court that summarizes:
    • The goals, purpose, and objectives of the HCEWB, and
    • Any findings and recommendations related to the HCEWB’s goals, purpose, and objectives.
  • Establish other rules and procedures, consistent with the Bylaws, as necessary, to carry out the purpose and objectives of the HCEWB.



Application for Board Membership

Application for Board Membership

Workers from the following Essential Industries must be represented on the Essential Worker Board:

  • Airport or Transportation
  • Construction
  • Domestic Work or Home Care
  • Education or Childcare
  • Grocery, Convenience, or Drug Store
  • Healthcare or Public Health
  • Janitorial
  • Food Services, Hospitality, or Leisure Services
  • Retail

Please submit completed applications to Daniel Santamaria, Director of Boards and Commissions, at:  or 1001 Preston St., 5th floor Houston, Tx 77002.