2021 Convention Resolution Supporting Asbestos Education

ND AFL-CIO 62nd Convention
A RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT INFORMING NORTH DAKOTA WORKERS WHO HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS ON THE JOB ABOUT CHANGES TO THEIR RIGHT TO CIVIL DAMAGES

WHEREAS:    House Bill 1207 is a very restrictive new law supported by asbestos product manufacturers, passed by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly and signed by Governor Burgum, which will go into effect on August 1, 2021; and

WHEREAS:    It will be far more difficult for North Dakota’s workers suffering from asbestos-caused non-malignant lung injuries or asbestos-caused cancers to obtain damages from makers of asbestos products; and

WHEREAS:    Products containing asbestos were used here in the North Dakota workplace from the 1940’s through the 1990’s in insulation materials, welding rods, pipe gaskets, valve stem and pump packings, sheetrock, joint compound materials, sprayed fireproofing on structural beams, sprayed ceiling textures, wall textures, and drum and disc brake linings among many other products; and

WHEREAS:    Jobsites where these asbestos exposures occurred include power plants, oil refineries, beet sugar plants, office buildings, public buildings such as courthouses, private homes, auto repair businesses, and on U.S. Navy ships; and

WHEREAS:    Lung scarring injuries and various types of cancers caused by exposures to these asbestos containing products were not diagnosed for many years – even decades -- after these asbestos exposures took place. Asbestosis and pleural asbestos disease are the non-malignant diseases caused by asbestos exposure, and the following cancers can be caused by exposure to asbestos: mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma; and therefore be it

RESOLVED:    The North Dakota AFL-CIO will work with affiliated unions and allies to inform North Dakota workers about forthcoming changes to their rights regarding civil damages for on-the-job asbestos exposure due to actions of the 2021 North Dakota Legislature and Governor.