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Union members and asbestos exposure

Labor unions, also known as trade unions, are organizations aimed at protecting the rights of various occupational groups and improving their work conditions by collective bargaining over aspects such as wages, hours and benefits. In the U.S., labor unions have existed since the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, it was not until 1945 that their members' fight against asbestos in the workplace began, as occupational exposure was becoming a critical issue.

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Which union members might have been exposed to asbestos?

The use of asbestos in the workplace was extremely widespread during the past century. As a result, over 10 million employees were exposed to this carcinogenic mineral on the job between 1940 and 1978, many of whom union workers. Exposure to asbestos, especially when it occurs over the course of several years and involves high levels of airborne fibers, can lead to the development of serious diseases. Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer whose only cause is asbestos exposure, affects nearly 3,000 people every year in the U.S.

Other diseases which might ensue within 20 to 50 years of the first exposure are lung cancer and asbestosis, while asbestos has also been correlated with esophageal, and colorectal cancer. Members of the following labor unions who worked between the 1940s and the early 1980s are at high risk of being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease:

United Auto Workers


600,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Automotive Workers

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers


350,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Boilermakers

International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers

International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers


23,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Insulators

International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers


100,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Iron Workers

Laborers' International Union of North America


400,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Laborers

International Longshoreman's Association


100,000 members

Diagnosed with asbestos-related disease

More about Longshoreman

International Brotherhood of Electricians

International Union of Elevator Constructors

International Association of Firefighters

International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots

United Mine Workers of America


200,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Mine Workers

United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters


240,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Plumbers and Pipefitters

United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers


28,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Roofers

Sheet Metal Workers International Association


90,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Sheet Metal Workers

United Steelworkers


46,000 members

Diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease

More about Steel Workers

National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers

United Transportation Union

Transportation Workers Union of America

Utility Workers Union of America

Heavy Exposure Asbestos Occupations

Our legal process in asbestos exposed union members cases

We provide quality legal representation to union members injured by asbestos exposure

Nowadays, it is a well-known fact that asbestos is harmful. Although the link between exposure and cancer has been supported by numerous medical studies since the 1930s, asbestos was only classified as a human carcinogen in 1973. For over four decades, major U.S. companies such as Johns Manville and Raybestos-Manhattan have strived to conceal the devastating effects of asbestos exposure from their workers for their own financial benefit. Labor unions had an instrumental role in uncovering the terrible secret, ultimately putting an end to executives' conspiracy.

Companies Responsible for Asbestos Exposure

However, the relentless efforts of union members to raise awareness about the dangers of occupational asbestos exposure were not successful until the 1970s, as the companies were in a considerably more powerful position. Thereby, plenty of union workers continued to breathe airborne asbestos fibers on the job regularly, which would later lead to the development of life-threatening diseases.

We offer the following services for labor union members:

Diseases Caused By Asbestos Exposure

Why choose Environmental Litigation Group

If you are a union member diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have been providing legal representation to asbestos victims since 1990, having thus far recovered a total of $1.4 billion from liable companies.

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