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by California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 at 8:37 AM
Injured Movie and Kaiser workers at the Downey toxic dump site are still getting sick from the toxins and radioactive material at the site. Despite going to many government agencies and many politicians these agencies and politicians refuse to clean up the site and protect the workers and the community
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Defend The Downey Injured Movie and Kaiser Workers & The Community
The Toxic Hell Hole Is Still Killing
In 1927, the US government set up a military installation in Downey, California. At this site for over 70 years, not only the US military but NASA, Rocketdyne, Boeing North American Inc. and many other military industrial projects were produced at this site. Massive amounts of toxic material including some from space were dumped on the site. There was also the production of neutron bombs and even a radioactive berrium explosion that took place on the site in 1967. Although this was also a ICBM site and should have been labeled a Superfund site, corrupt government officials hid it's true history from the public and workers who continue to work at the site.
In the 1980’s, corporate developers and speculators lobbied the US Congress and the California state legislature to privatize these sites and let them be developed with the responsibility for clean-up on the private developer. Many of these sites were called “Brownfield” sites and at the Downey site, former GSA employee and toxic site developer Stuart Lichter got control of the site for pennies on the dollar with a special exemption signed by former governor Gray Davis in 2003.
Stuart Lichter then used the property to establish the Downey Studios and also leased out the facilities to Dreamworks and other movie companies.
As a result of the failure to properly clean up the site, movie workers from all unions began to get sick. IATSE Local 44 even put out a notice warning workers that they might get rashes, headaches and other ailments from working there.
In order to cover-up his criminal negligence Lichter sued the union and won a 5,000 settlement for hurting his business but workers continued to get sick then and even this year movie workers have been sickened at the site.
Movie workers continue to get sick at the site despite even a front page article in the Los Angeles Times this year about the systemic problem of contamination of workers on the site.
At the same time, the City of Downey and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) pushed for the site to be further developed and the Kaiser Hospital chain decided to build a 0 million major health complex paying only a small amount for the land. Kasier healthcare workers also began to get infected at this site including SEIU Cast Technician Gail Shephard. She was infected with fungus and other toxic material. Recently her daughter as well died from material contained in this toxic dump site.
Dozens of these workers have presented this information to the US Department of Labor under Secretary Solis, CA-OSHA, the EPA, the LA Department of Health, the Department of Insurance Comissioner Poizner, California Attorney General Brown, Senators Boxer and Feinstein and Congressman Henry Waxman who now heads the US Congressional Commerce and Energy Committee. Many other public agencies which are supposed to protect the health and safety of workers and the community have been contacted but they all have failed to act.
Multi-millionaire Lichter has even sued injured movie workers and injured workers advocates in a SLAP suit to silence them about this toxic hell hole and the injuries workers are getting. This suit continues.
This contamination has also spread out throughout the Downey-Bellflower area affecting the water system and many community residents. They have been sickened without knowing the real cause of this contamination.
These workers and community people will not be silenced until their healthcare is taken care of, they are compensated and people in the community are also provided with lifetime healthcare benefits. We plan to keep up the heat and have public community-worker hearings on the need to help injured workers and communities and have Congressional hearings.
Please contact The California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day-Los Angeles to find out more about this case and help defend our lives and communities.
California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day/Los Angeles
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