Four years ago, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama called them "veterans of the Cold War" and pledged to help them receive compensation.
But today, many former workers at Blockson Chemical Co. in Joliet and their survivors still have not been paid from a fund created in 2000 to make
amends for exposing the workers to high levels of radiation without telling them or providing adequate protection.
About a week ago there was a spat on the floor of the House where Congressman, Anthony Weiner, (D) NY blasted his Republican counterparts for their
reluctance to pass a healthcare bill to compensate emergency workers suffering from ailments caused by 9-11.
However, there is another story of men who were involved in similar situation as the first responders and workers who were told the air was safe to
breath at ground zero and it was not. The workers were employees at a chemical factory called Blockson Chemical in Joliet, IL. They were unknowingly
exposed to high levels of radiation from materials used to make nuclear weapons at the height of Cold War and the US/Soviet arms race.
As the 9-11 heroes suffer from their ailments awaiting compensation from their government; another group has been waiting as well. Moreover,
Republicans and Democrats bicker back and forth about everything but people who are in great peril suffer for it. All this money changing hands:
bailing out companies, foreign policy initiatives, and special interest programs but they don't want to shell out money to the 9-11 rescues or these
workers from this chemical plant?
Trillions upon trillions of dollars have been spent and taxes are going to go up at the end of the year. Still, people who rightfully deserve
financial assistance and medical care for their service to the government and the people of the United States are on the hook to take care of
In the case of the Blockson workers, they were told a fund was set up in 2000 and to file a claim for benefits. Everything sounded good and
reasonable. However, when the claims started coming in, that is when the government put up an endless of maze of bureaucracy, road blocks, and red
tape to go through. Many are having a difficult time acquiring benefits.
Here is an example of what one worker went through while working at Blockson.
. . . Phyllis Keca, 84, whose husband, John, thought he was manufacturing laundry detergents during his 23 years working at Blockson. He wore only a
paper mask while handling tanks that, unknown to him, were filled with uranium and radium to be used in the production of nuclear weapons.
How can the government contest claims from these worker's widows and families when learning about what they were exposed to over the years and the
shoddy protective equipment being issued for their protection? It is absolutely appalling and unacceptable? They have no problems shelling out
trillions for this, that, and everything else but these workers and the 9-11 rescuers have to sit on their hands, sick and dying, waiting for
government assistance? This is certainly not the first time government has left people holding the bill that is rightfully theirs, but it is story of
importance given the controversial issue of healthcare and compensation for the heroes of 9-11. To sum things up, I will close with one question. What
the heck is going on?
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