UA Local Union 598 to Host Attorney General for Hanford Town Hall Event

PASCO, Wash. – UA Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 598 will host a Hanford Town Hall on May 22, 2018 from 5to 7 p.m. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson will lead a discussion with Hanford workers regarding his office’s case for worker safety at Hanford.
Other speakers will discuss the newly passed worker protection legislation and the Hanford Workforce Engagement Center.
The Town Hall will be held at UA Local 598’s Hall, located at 1328 N. Rd 28, Pasco, WA 99301. Moderating this important evening will be President of the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department, James Hart, “Tonight we gather with heartfelt condolences to the families of Hanford workers whose dedication to the mission of ensuring America’s national security led to their sickness or premature demise. The Metal Trades Department is a proud partner of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Hanford Challenge in the fight to confront issues that impede the safety and quality of life of Hanford workers and their neighbors in the surrounding communities”.
“After two sessions of heartbreaking testimony, it became clear to the Legislature that an unjust price was being paid by these workers as a result of their service to this State and our Nation,” said Nickolas Bumpaous, Government Affairs Director for UA Local 598, after Substitute House Bill 1723 was passed by the Washington Legislature in February of 2018. SHB 1723 creates the presumption of occupational disease for employees at the Hanford site.
“When we brought this bill forward to the Legislature, we knew it would be a giant step towards justice for the men and women of labor and our nuclear veterans. Our stance has always been that a cavalier attitude toward the health and safety of working families will not be tolerated, and we are proud that our Legislature shares that conviction,” said 598 Business Manager Randy Walli. “Attorney General Ferguson’s steadfast resolve in seeking and supporting protections for these Washington families has been the catalyst for this momentum.”
The Hanford Workforce Engagement Center opened in April of 2018 and serves Hanford employees and their families in navigating the questions, concerns and processes regarding occupational health issues.

“We want to continue to pursue good research that is going to help us answer and unlock the last of the questions we need to make sure that we get Hanford cleaned up,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. “Safety is a job that is never complete. We have to be vigilant, and we have to respect the tremendous amount of sacrifice that many, many Hanford workers have made over generations.”
Bob Ferguson is Washington State’s 18th Attorney General. As the state’s chief legal officer, Bob is committed to protecting the people of Washington against powerful interests that do not play by the rules. He is a fourth-generation Washingtonian, a graduate of the University of Washington and New York University law school.
About UA Local Union 598
UA Local Union 598 Plumbers and Steamfitters have served eastern Washington and Oregon since 1944. Contractors and members take pride and ownership of every project, from residential projects to nuclear facilities. Local 598’s 1,300 members receive the training to be the most productive and highly skilled craftsmen in the industry. Visit to learn more.

LA Times Article Chronicles Hanford Workers Repeated Exposure to Plutonium

LA Times Article Chronicles Hanford Workers Repeated Exposure to Plutonium

An April 16, 2018 article in the LA Times, “Blowing in the wind: Plutonium at former nuclear weapons site,” chronicles the nuclear facility’s continued problems with contamination events.

The article’s author Ralph Vartabedian, spoke with Tom Carpenter, executive director of the watchdog group Hanford Challenge, who he says, “asserts that the demolition project used too many unskilled workers, attempted to do the work too fast and failed to adopt known safety measures that would have helped contain the contamination.”

“They took shortcuts and stupid risks,” Carpenter said. “They gambled and lost.”

Vartebedian also spoke with several employees who were exposed and face uncertain futures.

Read the full article here >

Pantex surpasses 5 million hours without Lost Time injury

Pantex surpasses 5 million hours without Lost Time injury

Reprinted from Pantex: Pantex recently reached a major milestone when they passed 5 million hours without a Lost Time injury. From December 20, 2016 to December 2, 2017, Pantexans worked 5,979,716 hours without a Lost Time injury.

Jimmy Rogers, Pantex Safety and Industrial Hygiene manager, said in November2017 Pantex received two recognitions from the National Safety Council. The first was the Million Work Hours Award – noting the more than 5 million hours worked without a Lost Time injury and the second, the Occupational Excellence Achievement Award – awarded to companies that have Lost Time injury cases equal to or less than 50 percent of their industry classification code.

Keep reading >


From The Washington state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday revived a bill to help sick Hanford workers.

House Bill 1723, initially sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, died in the legislative process last year. It would give workers who come down with certain illnesses the presumption that their exposures to chemicals, heavy metals and/or radiation at the nuclear cleanup site caused their diseases such as cancer, toxic encephalopathy (dementia) and lung disease. That presumption is meant to help them get their worker compensation claims accepted.

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House approves bill aimed to help sick Hanford workers

From KING 5

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Members of the Washington state House of Representatives approved HB 1723 Thursday afternoon, which would help sick Hanford workers get their worker compensation claims approved.

The vote was 69 to 29, and now the matter goes to the Senate.

Prior to the vote, bill sponsor Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, urged his fellow House members to support the measure.

“I would hope that all of us would vote yes. Send a resounding emphasis to the Department of Energy as well as the Hanford contractors that this state backs the Hanford workers and wants to make sure they go home healthy and those who’ve been made ill (at the site) do get the adequate medical care,” said Haler.

HB 1723 aimed to help workers diagnosed with certain illnesses get the care and compensation they need. It would grant a presumption of occupational illness for Hanford workers, similar to what the legislature granted to firefighters in 1987. The illnesses included for Hanford workers include respiratory disease, heart problems experienced after an exposure to toxic chemicals, neurological diseases, such as toxic encephalopathy (occupational induced dementia), and certain cancers.