Union says workers at East Palestine train derailment site are getting sick after exposure to toxic chemicals

Jonathon Long, a union representative, told CNBC this week that rail workers in East Palestine are falling ill as they deal with all the rubble and waste from the train crash and explosion.

In a letter, Long explained that many rail employees are continuing to experience migraines and nausea, which they blame on chemical exposure from the wreckage.

“This lack of concern for the Workers’ safety and well-being is, again, a basic tenet of NS’s (Norfolk Southern) cost-cutting business model,” Long wrote, blasting Norfolk Southern for putting people’s lives and livelihoods in danger.

The letter addresses one specific situation in which a rail worker was ignored by his supervisor after requesting to be taken off the site due to concerns about his safety. Other workers who requested personal protective equipment (PPE) receive little or no response from their superiors.

In conclusion, Long called in Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to “bring about necessary changes” to prevent this kind of disaster from ever again happening in the future. (Related: The East Palestine train wreck and “controlled explosion” created the largest dioxin plume in world history.)

Buttigieg says higher fines for railroad safety violations will help to prevent future disasters

Long sent this letter on the same day that the leaders of 12 railroad unions met with Buttigieg and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) administrator Amit Bose.

Buttigieg and other White House officials are now calling for higher fines for railroad safety violations after visiting the crash site.


“My hope is the stakeholders in this industry can work towards the same goals related to safety when transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said Mike Baldwin, president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.

“Today’s meeting is an opportunity for labor to share what our members are seeing and dealing with day to day. The railroaders labor represents are the employees who make it safe and they must have the tools to do so.”

This week, a bipartisan group of senators also introduced the Railway Safety Act of 2023, which calls for increased regulations on the transportation of hazardous, flammable chemicals.

“Through this legislation, Congress has a real opportunity to ensure that what happened in East Palestine will never happen again,” said Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, a Republican and one of the senators backing the bill.

“We owe every American the peace of mind that their community is protected from a catastrophe of this kind.”

Norfolk Southern says it is coordinating with hazardous material professionals to monitor and improve the air quality in East Palestine.

“Norfolk Southern was on-scene immediately after the derailment and coordinated our response with hazardous material professionals who were on site continuously to ensure the work area was safe to enter and the required PPE was utilized, all in addition to air monitoring that was established within an hour,” a spokesperson is quoted as saying.

In the comment section on an article about all these developments, someone wrote that “money exchanged hands” on this disaster, suggesting an added layer of conspiratorial corruption.

“A lifelong friend was on that cleanup site trucking soil out,” this person wrote.

“He said virtually nobody was in PPE. Less than half were even donning paper masks. He said zero safety officers on site (means no safety plan was in place) … this cleanup was done like no hazmat’s were present. In fact, it was done as if there were no OSHA regs.”

Someone else responded that this is “par for the course,” and that the same thing happened after the fly ash spill in Kingston, Tenn. from a few years back.

More related news about the East Palestine disaster can be found at Disaster.news.

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