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Local 623 Helps
Secure Workers'
Comp Award

PITTSBURGH

Vincent Trangle worked for LSC for nearly 40 years. When he became sick and disabled because of his job, his employer’s insurance company did not want to know about it. Trangle faced medical bills totaling more than $110,000 without assistance or income.

Fortunately for Trangle, he was a member of UE Local 623.

The union actively assisted Trangle’s workers’ compensation claim, successfully handled by Pittsburgh-based attorney Samuel Blaufeld. Workers’ Compensation Judge David Henry ordered LSC to pay Trangle’s six-figure medical bills as well as disability compensation benefits of $482.45 a week.

"The union’s 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 we’ve 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 LSC’s 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 doctor’s detection of dramatically elevated blood pressure led to Trangle’s 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 Trangle’s 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 worker’s kidney failure. A co-worker peeled a label off a chemical barrel, helping the union to pinpoint the cause. The local union paid Cook’s lost time as he attended workers’ compensation hearings on Trangle’s behalf.

UE News - 11/98


Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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