A labor dispute led by the Laborers’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition (MAROC) had drivers slowing past BU’s Buckingham Maintenance Center on Lightstreet Road today. A huge blow-up rat was placed in front of the entrance to the university with a sign: “Bloomsburg University uses Power Component Systems.”
At the site of the protest, there were two demonstrators who wanted to make the university aware of current construction at the Nelson Field House. One of the organizers, Joe Wingert, said MAROC’s goals are to inform the public about the danger of toxic asbestos and to have people question whether the contracting company employed is “reliable.”
Asbestos are fibrous silicate minerals primarily found in building materials to provide strong and stable insulation that is resistant to electricity and fires. Some health experts say these fibers have the potential to be released into the air during demolition procedures and serious health problems, such as lung cancer, can occur if they are inhaled.
Fliers passed out by Wingert refer to cases where PCS, Inc., the construction company hired by the university, has failed to provide safeguards against damages to the environment, and has been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the Clean Air Act. There was also information that the contracting company has been fined and removed from projects they were hired for because of repeated violations and health risks inflicted on communities.
MAROC suggests that PCS is not the right candidate for the demolition on BU’s campus. They imply that PCS will not safely remove the asbestos from the buildings being repaired and reconstructed, thus poisoning the air around Bloomsburg University.
The protestors urge people to understand the situation and to contact Diane Shamsburg at Bloomsburg University at (570) 389-4312 with concerns about safety or the contractors. If you have questions about the demonstration call Tim Bowen of MAROC at (717) 561-3702.