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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Sunday, May 22, 2005 ::

    Welders sue over exposure to toxins - Tri-Valley Herald, CA
    Dozens of welders who worked on the Bay Bridge's new eastern span have sued their employer and the makers of materials they used, claiming they've developed serious illnesses from exposure to manganese fumes and other toxins.

    The lawsuit is the latest development in workers' claims that bridge contractor KFM Joint Venture's safety record - nearly perfect on paper - masks a work site dominated by fear of retaliation for reporting injuries or for questioning safety practices.

    Last June, the Oakland Tribune, a sister paper of the Herald, reported that KFM for more than a year knowingly exposed workers to welding fumes in excess of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health's standards. Cal-OSHA records showed KFM didn't tell workers about the overexposure, require respirators or fix the problem.
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