Dave Wondolowski, Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, expressed concerns about a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that may allow the use of asbestos in certain materials.
During his monthly appearance on America’s Work Force Radio, Wondolowski told AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc he feas the EPA will be rubber-stamping decisions and called the regulatory agency a joke.
In the U.S., the use of the deadly cancer-causing mineral has been greatly restricted for several decades, but the EPA’s proposed decision could bring asbestos back to construction sites.
The “significant new use rule,” (SNUR) if adopted, will allow asbestos to be used in the manufacturing process. It will also allow products containing asbestos to be imported into the U.S.
Wondolowski said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is understaffed and unable to enforce all safety rules as they have in the past. They may not be able to enforce the SNUR on jobsites.
In addition to being concerned about the safety hazard asbestos poises for his members, he is concerned about non-union construction workers, many of whom do not understand the dangers of asbestos. Union tradesmen and tradeswomen undergo rigorous safety training, which is something their non-union counterparts do not receive.
Besides the news about asbestos, the two also talked about politics.
Wondolowski said he sees the political tide turning toward the Democratic Party due to the defeat of So-Called “Right to Work” in Missouri and the close special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.
No matter the outcome of the special election, which is still undecided, Democratic Party candidate Danny O’Connor outperformed expectations in such a heavy Republican district.
O’Connor’s race should give all Democrats hope that the “blue wave” is coming in Ohio. Wondolowski believes this special election should be good news for Rich Cordray and all other Democrats on the statewide ballot.
Click here to listen to the entire segment from America’s Work Force Radio, including Betty Sutton’s union background and the potential purging of registered Ohio voters from the registered voter rolls.