CAW to Appeal Outstanding WSIB Claims for Toxic Exposures at General Electric

May 29, 2012, 10:40 AM EST

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The CAW will be continuing to press forward on the 150 occupational illness claims out of General Electric in Peterborough that were denied by WSIB.

The CAW organized an intake clinic with the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), which saw 675 GE workers and retirees. From this clinic claims were filed, with the WSIB approving 112 claims, and denying 150.

Up until the mid-1980s, workers were regularly exposed to deadly asbestos, and a number of other toxic substances through many of the work processes, as well as the insulation of the building. The multiple exposures are part of the reason for the difficulty in isolating illness symptoms related to certain chemicals and substances.

The CAW will be working with the Office of the Worker Advisor and OHCOW to review the awards for the 112 approved claims and review the claims of the 150 who were denied, in order to appeal.

"Workers went to their jobs each day at General Electric with the expectation that their employer was not putting them in harm's way," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "It was only after the number of common illnesses started to mount that any action was taken. We see this situation replicated in workplaces across the country, with various chemicals, toxic substances and unsafe working conditions."

The latency period for asbestos-related illnesses is between 10-30 years, depending on the frequency and level of exposure.

The Peterborough General Electric facility dates back to 1892. The workers are represented by CAW Local 524.

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