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From: "David G Hurlburt" dghurlb@pacbell.net
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005

Time to fight like hell for the living

Statement by David Hurlburt, CWA 9410 Safety Committee Chair In Memory of James Grahame, Steward, Safety Committee Chair and member of CWA local 9410

What does it mean to have a Union Brother or Sister? Someone, who you not only spend your working life with, but who you attend meetings with, work on solving grievances or safety problems, count votes on elections or walk with on a picket line. A man or a woman who watches your back and you watch theirs. It means we are a family and we are not alone. As it has been our motto in the labor movement for over a hundred years.

An injury to one is the concern of all, I am in pain today for I have lost my Friend, James Grahame, My Union Brother, a Steward, Safety Committee Chair and election committee member, a former operator, service representative, testing technician and communications technician ESS for Pacific Bell now SBC. How did he die so young at age 52, a year after he had retired from Pacific Bell?  He died on November 25, 2003 from Mesothelioma a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. A week before he died he attended a safety committee meeting for the purpose of having SBC place labels on Asbestos hazards in their buildings. Even while he was having a hard time breathing, his concern was stated to me - "Don't let this happen to any one else! Please get the asbestos marked and removed where possible." I promised him I would work to accomplish that end and I shall do so, because he is my brother and you are my Brothers and Sisters. We both want you not to be exposed to Asbestos. That is his legacy to you and my promise to our brother Jim Grahame. As Mother Mary Jones of the United Mine Workers said "Pray for the dead but fight  like hell for the living˛ It is time to fight like hell for the living!"

The asbestos issue is more widespread than just SBC. The danger is present at all locations were the possibility for asbestos fibers to become airborne exists. We have strict laws for our schools and for our places of employment but they must be enforced by us, for us, for our own health. The scary thing is this Mesothelioma is not diagnosable for over ten years after exposure in some cases up to 40 years and there is no cure. Employers must be encouraged to tag and bag and remove Asbestos when and wherever possible.

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