MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: November 10, 2014

CONTACT: Nora Cay Ryan, Chicago Federation of Labor, 847-826-2061, ncryan@chicagolabor.org  / Rachele Huennekens, Jobs to Move America, 703-470-2454,  rhuennekens@laane.org

Nippon Sharyo Railcar Manufacturing Workers Ask OSHA to Investigate Dangerous Plant Conditions

On Monday, November 10, workers will speak out against dangerous and unhealthy conditions in the Nippon Sharyo passenger train factory in Rochelle, IL, and announce the filing of U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) complaint. Workers at the plant build railcars for Metra and other public transit agencies around the country. The workers will be joined by members of the Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition.

The complaints show that Illinois workers building railcars for Nippon Sharyo are exposed to serious, unsafe conditions on an ongoing basis; including broken scaffolding that has caused worker falls and injuries, poor ventilation while working with chemicals, and unsafe train moving procedures. Welders in Nippon Sharyo’s Illinois factory are also worried about exposure to the same toxic chemical Erin Brockovich blew the whistle on – hexavalent chromium.  Nippon Sharyo workers report they sometimes lack basic safety equipment like respirators, and that if they speak out about dangerous conditions or are injured on the job, they are disciplined or even fired.

Nippon Sharyo received $4.7 Million in grants, tax credits and training money from the State of Illinois to open the Rochelle factory,[1] and the company has been awarded $1.3 billion worth of contracts with U.S. public transit agencies in the past six years[2].

** VISUALS:  dust masks and respirators, large pictures of worker injuries **

WHAT: Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition press conference to support Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing workers filing complaints of unhealthy and dangerous conditions

WHEN: Monday, November 10, 2014, at 1:00 pm Central Time

WHERE: Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center and Metra station, corner of W. Madison St. and N. Clinton St., Chicago, IL 60661

WHO: 

  • Workers at the Nippon Sharyo factory in Rochelle, IL
  • Bob Reiter, Secretary -Treasurer, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Susan Hurley, Executive Director, Chicago Jobs with Justice
  • Marsha Love, Program Development Manager, Occupational & Environmental Health & Safety Education & Research Center, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
  • Community members from the Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition

 

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For more information on Jobs to Move America, please visit http://www.jobstomoveamerica.org



[2] Source: Jobs to Move America coalition analysis of Caltrans/Amtrak, Metra, Sonoma-Marin and Virginia Railway Express contracts