By TIM ROWDEN
North St. Louis – Members and leadership of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the Missouri AFL-CIO and supporting unions rallied outside the Goodfellow Federal Center in St. Louis June 29 to demand action at the complex, where cancer-causing chemicals and a total of 83 hazardous substances that the government has known about for decades are posing threats to workers’ health.
AFGE filed grievances April 12 regarding unsafe and unhealthy working conditions at the federal complex at 4300 Goodfellow Blvd., where about 2,400 employees of the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture and General Services Administration are housed.
AFGE is demanding the immediate removal of all bargaining unit employees from the complex, with employees who are eligible working from home and others moved to a safe, clean facility. AFGE is also seeking hazard pay and health screenings for impacted employees to determine if they have any health issues.
GSA’s Public Building Services, whose employees are housed in the only building cleaned up at the complex, has denied the requests but said a health testing program for impacted employees was being developed.
U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) has urged the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to launch a congressional investigation into GSA Public Building Services, stating that it “failed to protect the health and safety of St. Louis’s federal workers.”
“The Missouri AFL-CIO is fully committed to fighting alongside our brothers and sisters at the Goodfellow Federal Center,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “It’s unacceptable that workers are being asked to risk their health for a paycheck, and they should be transferred immediately. We call on Congress to take a stand, investigate the facility, and demand a safe jobsite for these workers.”