by Bill Gates (Dundalk Eagle, June 12, 2013)
Five people does not make for much of a picket line. Adding a 15-foot inflatable rat, however, makes all the difference.
Drivers passing by Dundalk High on Thursday afternoon did double takes. They slowed down. Some pulled over. One stopped so its occupants could get their photo taken with the monster rodent.
While a 15-foot inflatable rat can seem a bit silly, it was there for a very serious reason.
A sign around the rat’s neck read: “Colt Insulation. Alcohol, asbestos and students should never be mixed.”
A contractor, Colt Insulation, is removing asbestos from the auditorium wing of Dundalk High School, which is scheduled to be demolished later this month.
According to the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA), workers at the site claim Colt Insulation is not following proper safety procedures for working with asbestos.
The company, through its legal counsel, denied the workers’ allegations when contacted by The Eagle.
“The workers say they are wearing improper filters and not taking decontamination showers,” said Ernest Ojito, a lead organizer with the union.
Leaving an asbestos abatement site requires passing through a three-chamber decontamination process, according to Ojito.
The workers first remove their work clothes, then they shower to remove any asbestos that might be on their skin, then they put on their regular clothes.
“They’re not decontaminating themselves when they come out of the work area,” Ojito said. “Asbestos is highly carcinogenic. It can get stuck in their lungs [without the proper filters in place over the workers’ faces].”
The union has also received complaints that Colt Insulation supervisors bring beer to the job site and encourage the workers to also drink.
“The workers that don’t want to drink beer say they feel pressured to drink it,” Ojito said.
Continue reading “Dundalk Giant Rat” at Dundalkeagle.com.
Baltimore band The Rock Stars weigh in on the Dundalk Giant Rat controversy with “Giant Rat“.