Continuing with Gerald Colby's work on the DuPont family and their centuries long dynasty. I know I have their chemicals in my blood,and so don't you reader. These people might be the biggest polluters in the country,if not the whole planet....
....Promotions were just one way DuPont tried to undermine blue-collar solidarity. DuPont had a conscious policy of dividing its workforce by discriminating between blue and white collars with differentiated benefits, including profit sharing. It had been seen at annual meetings, when proposals to bring blue-collar benefits on a par with white collar were drowned in a sea of millions of shares voted by DuPont family members or when pleas extending beyond the time allotted by the chairman were suddenly silenced by Shapiro’s flick of a switch that cut the speaker’s microphone dead.
With federal agencies, Shapiro found the going rougher. During the Carter Administration, up until February 1980, DuPont was hit with 65 citations for violations of national workplace standards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 158 Another gadfly was the National Labor Relations Board. DuPont was charged by the board with threatening and coercing United Steelworkers’ supporters at its Martinsville, Virginia, plant 159 and was found guilty of unfair labor practices during an unsuccessful Chattanooga organizing effort in 1979 by the Teamsters Union. In the later case, Judge James M. Fitzpatrick held that DuPont had shown a tendency to violate the National Labor Relations Act and “has engaged in widespread misconduct demonstrating a general disregard of employee statutory rights.” 160
In September 1980, DuPont also fired a steelworker activist at the Seaford plant. “Any small thing that would come about, they would write it down,” said the discharged worker, Robert Hooper. “They can get at anyone at any time. I was more or less a scapegoat.” William Gaylor, the Seaford plant manager, disputed the charge. “We’re not aware whether he was an organizer or not,” he said. “His discharge was solely because of his performance.” 161 Hooper had been actively organizing for the Steelworkers for four years.
Some of the most serious incidents, however, occurred at the Newport pigments plant. In December 1978, the NLRB cited DuPont for violating federal law by keeping employees under photographic and videotape surveillance during a strike over the same issue that triggered a walkout two years before and the company’s reneging on promises to negotiate any vacancies with the local union. Then, like now, DuPont was convicted by the NLRB of unfair labor practices for refusing to discuss the workers’ grievances until they returned to work.
But more important, perhaps, was DuPont’s own 1979 study that showed that Newport workers between 1957 and 1977 had a lung cancer death rate 75 percent higher than the general DuPont workforce, and a fatal heart disease rate 27 percent higher. 162 The only material at Newport that was a known cause of cancer was asbestos, used for pipe insulation. Two other suspected carcinogens, chromium dioxide and perchlorolthylene were also used. In 1980, six Repauno and Chambers workers suffering with asbestosis, a fatal lung cancer, sued DuPont for “willful and wanton” misconduct in not telling them about the general danger of asbestos or about health problems that four DuPont doctors allegedly knew were developing in the workers’ lungs. Just the previous year, OSHA had fined DuPont $63,000 for asbestos health violations at the Repauno plant.
Shapiro’s lawyers were contesting the fine, but there was no contesting a 1964 DuPont internal memo from G.J. Stoops, chief of the physiology section of the Haskett Laboratory to Dr. C.A. D’Alonzo, of DuPont’s Employee Relations Department. That memo, written on official DuPont Company stationery, confirmed that DuPont had known about the asbestos danger it was exposing its workers to for at least 16 years before the New Jersey workers filed suit.
“The DuPont Company spends between 3 to 7 per cent of the cost of new construction on insulating materials, much of which contains asbestos,” Stopps wrote. “Roughly 200,000 pounds of pipe insulation are used every year and approximately 70 percent of this insulation is asbestos. With figures of this magnitude it is not difficult to visualize a real health hazard existing just in this one use of asbestos.
“Because of the long time lag from first exposure to diagnosis (the mean period is about 40 years), the potential respiratory disease problem is liable to grow in size. This is particularly true of the nylon plants which are big users of asbestos insulation on their “Dowtherm” lines, all of which have been installed in the last 26 years. The compensation aspects of this problem speak for themselves and point to the need for adequate pulmonary function studies on all workers exposed to a definite risk of respiratory damage.” 163
Stopps warned of legal suits and disability allowances and suggested that “for less money than would be involved in the loss of a single court suit an effective pulmonary function testing program can be set up and operated for a trial period of five years.” 164