Local 623 Helps
Vincent Trangle worked for LSC for nearly 40 years. When he became sick and
disabled because of his job, his employers insurance company did not want to know
about it. Trangle faced medical bills totaling more than $110,000 without assistance or
Fortunately for Trangle, he was a member of UE Local 623.
The union actively assisted Trangles workers compensation claim,
successfully handled by Pittsburgh-based attorney Samuel Blaufeld. Workers
Compensation Judge David Henry ordered LSC to pay Trangles six-figure medical
bills as well as disability compensation benefits of $482.45 a week.
"The unions response was crucial," Blaufeld told the UE NEWS.
"We can run with the ball, but we need a ball to run with." In particular, the
attorney praised the role of Jim Cook, Local 623 president and LSC worker.
Cook calls it a case of being in the right place at the right time. The local president
attended a seminar on workers compensation given by Blaufeld and organized by then
District Six Pres. Dan Smith. After the presentation Cook told the attorney, "I
think weve got a case for you."
Trangle began working for the company in March 1955 when LSC was Lawrenceville Screw
Corp. and located in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. Both there and,after 1980,
in LSCs new plant in Plum Borough, Trangle was a degreaser, responsible for cleaning
parts with chemicals that included trichloethane (TCA) and trichloroethylene (TCE).
In 1989, Trangle was transferred to new positions, working on the loading dock and as a
machinist. He would occasionally work in the degreasing room, however, up until the time
that illness forced him to quit in October 1994.
His doctors detection of dramatically elevated blood pressure led to
Trangles immediate hospitalization. Further tests revealed his kidneys were
undergoing dramatic deterioration. (Trangle has since had an unsuccessful kidney
transplant and has been treated with dialysis.) There had been no prior history of high
blood pressure or hypertension.
LSC denied that Trangles decades of working with notoriously dangerous chemicals
was the cause of his illness and secured the testimony of experts who tried to
explain away the sick workers kidney failure. A co-worker peeled a label off a
chemical barrel, helping the union to pinpoint the cause. The local union paid Cooks
lost time as he attended workers compensation hearings on Trangles behalf.