April 21, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Over the course of the next decade, 35,000 people are expected to develop some type of cancer related to toxins spewed from Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. This week, on LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airing Sunday evening at 9 p.m. on AM970 The Answer, we’re talking with the team of attorneys helping 9/11 victims secure vital support through two U.S. government programs. We’re also talking workplace dangers with labor writer Jane Latour and Workers Independent News Executive Director Frank Emspak.
Six years ago, President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, funding both the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. James Zadroga was an NYPD detective who lost his life in 2006, after being exposed to 9/11 poisons. The law honoring Zadroga is now helping to care for other devastated lives.
“People were told that the air was safe to breathe, attorney Vito Pitta says. While medical aid and support is available, Pitta and his legal team are endeavoring to help claimants better navigate the claims process and maximize benefits.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed on that terrible day 15 years ago. Many more were exposed to Ground Zero’s deadly cocktail of heavy metals and pulverized plastics. They include, iron workers, uniformed officers, students, tenants and others. The recently renewed Zadroga Act allocates billions of dollars in medical aid and financial compensation.
The workplace can be deadly even without terrorist attacks. Labor writer Jane Latour has been looking at just how dangerous the workplace has become for blue collar workers, and her investigations — just since last fall — are alarming.
“I have a stack of dead worker files,” Latour says. “The Amtrak workers that everybody will be familiar with, three tugboat workers who just died. I have so many construction workers swept off buildings, falling off buildings, working on the third floor and not wearing a harness. A really gross [accident] involved a construction worker impaled on rebar.”
Despite their horrific nature, Latour and Empsak explain that these kinds of workplace perils are far from “unusual occurrences.” At the same time, anti-worker forces continue to chip away at funding for OSHA — Occupational Health & Safety Administration.
For all this and more, tune into AM970 The Answer this Sunday, April 24, from 9 to 10 p.m. The episode, along with the rest of the “Blue Collar Buzz” library, is also available on demand at AM970TheAnswer.com.