·  USW

USW Supports Exide Efforts to Reduce Health, Safety Hazards at Vernon Plant

Contact: David Campbell: 310-522-2276, dcampbell@usw675.org

CARSON, Calif. (December 13) - The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed optimism that the upgrades Exide has planned for its Vernon, Calif., battery plant would protect the environment and safety of surrounding communities while providing much-needed family-sustaining jobs for the region.

"As residents, we share the same concerns as the rest of the public about the health and safety of our neighbors and families in this region," said David Campbell, secretary-treasurer of USW Local 675 in Carson, Calif., which represents 100 workers at the plant. "We believe that the changes the company has made to date and the ones scheduled in the near future will be a huge step toward significantly reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous materials for both these workers and the community at large."

Exide reached an agreement in October with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to allow the company's Vernon battery recycling facility to continue operating as the company continued to address community concerns about potentially harmful emissions. Since then, the company has worked with regulators to plan operational changes and capital investments, including enclosing previously exposed sections of the plant, installing high-efficiency filtration systems, and installing an isolation door to more effectively capture and treat emissions.

Exide plans to invest more than $5 million over the next two years in upgrades.

"We share the company's commitment to health and safety and, on behalf of the 100 union workers and families from the communities surrounding the Vernon site, we ask our fellow Californians to support this win-win solution to protect the environment and preserve these good jobs," Campbell said. "Studies have shown that each manufacturing job in turn supports as many as four other jobs in the community. That is what makes this so important - not just for USW members, but for all of us in the Greater Los Angeles area."

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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