April 30, 2016

Workplace Injuries Still Plague Retirees

ULU 100 retirees
Retirees suffering long-term workplace injuries spoke on KNON radio

Workplace injuries plague us long after we have retired. Three retirees from the Dallas Independent School District appeared with me on KNON’s “Workers Beat” program at 9 AM on Saturday, April 30. They suffered from respiratory problems and, in one case, cancer. They testified that working in an unsafe building had caused their long-term and life-shortening problems!

Back in the 1990s, the school district apparently purchased the old Proctor and Gamble manufacturing building on Lamar Street in South Dallas. The cleanup crews assigned to the building were not advised of any unsafe conditions, but they saw pigeon feces and dead rats when they started working. The odors tipped them off even before that.

The three retirees, all African Americans, accused management of “environmental racism” since the workers in the contaminated building were primarily “minorities.” One of the callers to the “Workers Beat” program talked about extensive environmental racism in the area. Another said he had worked in the contaminated building and that workers were “dying like flies” from working there.

Another caller suggested that a lawsuit was the right response, but the retirees said that lawyers cost money and, so far, they hadn’t been able to find one to take their case. The situation was compared to recent news from Houston that the Texas Supreme Court had overturned their municipal anti-pollution laws. The plaintiff, Exxon Oil, apparently had plenty of money for lawyers!

Another caller suggested that the Dallas School Board should start meeting in the contaminated building rather than buying something elsewhere. If the School Board met where the sickened workers were, they said, proper cleanup action would take place immediately!

The number one suggestion that callers made was that the workers must unionize. The three retirees on the program agreed, and said that United Labor Union Local 100 was their choice. Their web site starts with an article about toxic chemicals in the Dallas building.

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans is concerned about all retiree issues, and long-term illnesses from unsafe working conditions is a major problem. We had just held an event for Workers Memorial Day and we will continue to speak out on these issues!

–Gene Lantz, President

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans

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