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 >

BILL TO HELP SICK HANFORD WORKERS GETS NEW LIFE

BILL TO HELP SICK HANFORD WORKERS GETS NEW LIFE

King5.com

From King5.com: 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.

Read More

House approves bill aimed to help sick Hanford workers

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.

Pantex Nuclear Workers, CNS Reach Tentative Agreement

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2015
Contact: Ron Ault, 202-508-3705 or Tara Landis, 410-991-6615

Amarillo, TX–After more than a month on strike, the Amarillo Metal Trades Council (MTC), a 10-union coalition representing nearly 1,200 workers at the Pantex Nuclear Weapons facility, and Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) have reached a tentative agreement.

The MTC struck after more than seven months of bargaining when, on August 28, CNS-Pantex presented its “best, last and final” offer. At that time, 87 percent of the unionized workers voted to strike the Amarillo facility.

In late September, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) Director, Allison Beck, called the two parties back to the table to resume talks. The proposed agreement is a direct result of those new negotiations.

Highlights of the agreement include improved medical coverage with controlled out-of-pocket medical costs and contained premium increases for current and future employees; maintenance of the defined benefit pension plan for current employees; maintained sick leave earnings and bank; and improved short-term disability benefits.

“This was a hard fought battle,” says MTC President Clarence Rashada. “This strike was never about wages. It was about holding onto hard-won benefits and protecting our member’s future. In this agreement were able to improve several problem areas in the offer that was rejected. It will now go back to our members to vote on, ultimately, they have the final say.”

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President Ron Ault is pleased with the proposed agreement and thanked FMCS Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, who acted as mediator. “I am very happy that, with the assistance of Federal Mediator Beckenbaugh, the parties were able to come to an fair and equitable agreement that restores the workers hard earned benefits,” said Ault.

In addition to the benefits package, the tentative agreement also gives employees annual wage increases of two percent. MTC represented employees will vote on the proposed agreement on Sunday, October 4.

# # #

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

The Amarillo Metal Trades Council is a 10-union Council within the Metal Trades Department that represents roughly 1,200 Pantex workers. The unions include: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); United Association (UA); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers(IBB); Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT); Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); International Association of Fire Fighters.

Skip to toolbar