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Metal Trades Dept. Calls for Oversight Hearings Into Operations of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP)
Date:4/28/2008

health and safety. Many of these workers never were told of the dangers they faced. And, because of strict secrecy and classification standards, they never even disclosed to their families what they were doing. Furthermore, also out of secrecy concerns, much of this work was compartmentalized, creating additional confusion over what types of exposures and risks these workers encountered during their careers. Now, after the crisis has passed, and many of these same workers have become chronically ill--and many have died as a result of their exposures-- we ask: What kind of country would turn its back on them and their survivors? We implore Congress to revisit this legislation and take the necessary steps to make sure that these workers are not neglected, and their contributions are not forgotten," Ault said.

Since this legislation was enacted eight years ago, the program has wasted at least one-third of the money that Congress provided on overhead and administrative costs while splintering adjudication and administration among a number of federal entities. While the program has paid out some $3.5 billion in benefits--and at least $1 billion in administrative costs--there remain hundreds if not thousands of unpaid, lost and derailed claims languishing in file boxes in the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The program has been crippled from the outset. Initially, DOE told Congress it expected 3,000 claims under the new law. Within two years after enactment, some 40,000 claims had been received and DOE had made only one award.

According to an investigation conducted for the MTD by Sheldon W. Samuels of the Ramazzini Institute and Drexel University's School of Public Health, the Department of Energy had run up a woeful record of failures in administering the program in its first three years of life -- failing to work with state workers compensation com
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SOURCE Metal Trades Department AFL-CIO
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