July 20, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Tonawanda, NY – United Steelworkers (USW) representatives tell WNYLaborToday.com they are “frustrated” with the Tonawanda Coke Corporation, whose management apparently will not team up with Organized Labor to ensure safe workplace conditions after the death of an Employee earlier this year.
And they say that $175,000 in fines levied against the company by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) “is not enough” for a loss of human life that was “preventable” at the Buffalo area facility.
Just last week, OSHA cited Tonawanda Coke – which has produced foundry coke, a coal by-product, at the Western New York site since 1978 – for what it described as “repeat” and “serious safety violations” in the wake of the death of a company Employee who was servicing an operating coal elevator and was pulled into its rotating shaft, which caused his death in early January. OSHA ruled the fatality could have been prevented and that safety procedures and training would have prevented this “needless loss of a Worker's life.”
“I’m ‘frustrated’ with the company’s positon,” a visibly angry USW District 4/Sub-District One Office Director Jim Briggs told WNYLaborToday.com during the annual Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Picnic. “You ‘would think’ that after a Worker’s death in ‘their’ plant that they would be ‘jumping at the opportunity to prevent it from ever happening again.’” To read more click on the following link