Washington, DC – Several current and former asbestos workers protested Asbestos Specialist Inc (ASI) May 23 to demand their employer be held accountable for its dangerous behavior. The workers spoke with passers-by and patrons of National Press Club building businesses to alert them about the company’s history of unsafe working conditions, such as those that led to the carbon monoxide poisonings of almost a dozen workers at the National Press Club Building job site earlier this week. For months, ASI workers have been picketing the company for unsafe working conditions, safety violations, and wrongfully withheld back wages. Now the workers say it is unacceptable that this company’s carelessness has seriously injured almost a dozen employees at the building of the National Press Club.
For the last several months, employees have been picketing at worksites across the region to let their ASI co-workers and the company’s clients know that this company has endangered worker and public safety by not following asbestos safety laws. Furthermore, ASI unfairly undercuts its competition by underpaying some workers. The Department of Labor made an initial finding that the company wrongfully withheld $853,000 in wages from employees, but the company has so far refused to return the money to the workers.
“What happened to the workers at the National Press Club this week was a tragedy and completely preventable. Safety laws are there for a reason, and there’s no excuse for endangering public or worker safety just to cut corners. We need ASI’s clients to understand exactly who it is that they’re hiring,” said Steve Lanning, organizing director of LiUNA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition.