Saturday, December 15, 2018


So refreshing to know that Liz Witmer, chair of the (corrupt?) WSIB, has ordered a review of the files of 300 hundred former rubber workers. Of course there may very well have been 3,000 whose health and lives were affected by the working conditions in various rubber related factories around Kitchener-Waterloo but that's beside the point for the WSIB, the Ministry of Labour and our provincial government. It's all about scoping at the very start so just in case an adverse decision results, you've already limited the financial damages to your budget and the damages to your credibility and reputation.

Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Rubber Town: Workers, families hope for answers from WSIB review". The skeptics aka knowledgeable people are blunt in their assessment of the alleged promised review. "It's a public relations exercise." It's also a bureaucratic, minimum one year exercise by the WSIB. Allegedly it's all about the science and the records and what individual workers can prove they were exposed to according to Scott Wilson a WSIB board member. I believe that that is primarily nonsense. Why should the workers who are now sick and dying have to "prove" anything other than where they worked and from when until when? They were never given the records of which chemicals were in which departments. They were never given written lists of the chemicals in the products by the factories. The science of solvent poisoning has been available since the late 1800s and in the ensuing 100 years and more the science has only become more definitive and more obviously hazardous.

WSIB spokesperson Christine Arnott suggested that they want to undertake a review in a "thoughtful and deliberate way using the best approach." She also advised that they are working deliberately to put a plan in place as soon as possible." Isn't that just sweet? In my opinion they will indeed be deliberate and thoughtful in putting together a plan. They will deliberately take as long as humanly possible in order for as many as possible sick rubber workers to pass on thus lowering the financial liability of the WSIB. Is it even possible that managerial bonuses are at stake based upon the numbers of rejected claims that are overturned in the review as in the fewer overturned past decisions the higher the bonuses?

My father worked for Uniroyal in Elmira for twelve years and then for thirteen years at the Breithaupt Street plant. The Breithaupt Street plant has been mentioned twice in this series as having very polluted air. I wonder as in Elmira if the neighbours were also adversely affected by the fumes from the plant? By the way my father became sick a year after retiring and died at age seventy-three.

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