Union files asbestos complaint

April 29, 2008|By Brent Jones

Officials from the state's largest union say they have filed a complaint with a state health agency on behalf of employees at the city's child welfare services office, 1510 Guilford Ave., citing reports of active asbestos found in the building over the weekend.

Joe Lawrence, a spokesman for the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said contractors worked on the building and found what they believed to be asbestos on pipes.

But Brian Wilbon, deputy secretary for operations for the Department of Human Resources, said no contractors worked on the building this weekend, and that the building was inspected twice in the past year and no asbestos was found. Inspection results were presented to workers at two meetings this year, he said.

"If I felt members of our staff were in danger, I would remove them," Wilbon said.

About 350 state Department of Social Services employees work in the building, which the state leases from a company.

Last summer, union officials filed a similar complaint with the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration asking the agency to address a rodent problem and water leaks.

"That building has a history of problems, and we're not seeing the urgency from the administration that we need to see," Lawrence said.

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