Saturday, March 31

G'Bye Armstrong

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Armstrong World Industries was the largest employer in this county for about three quarters of a century. Somewhere around 1965-1970 they bought a company which had used asbestos in their manufacturing process. In the 90's tort lawyers sued Armstrong for damages to a group of people who might someday show signs of asbestos related disabilities. Of course the lawyers won, even though the relationship between asbestos and human damage is weaker than glue made out of spit.

Seems that a group of workers who installed asbestos lining inside of ships during WWII, in unairconditioned, unventilated hulls - while heavily smoking... showed a disproportionate tendency to develop lung problems. That is the principle research which linked asbestos to later problems. So, any firm that ever sold the stuff, regardless of their level of understanding, regardless of the tenuous nature of the linkage... has been sucked dry by tort attorneys. Armstrong now employes thousands of fewer workers and probably will employ none in say, six years.

These were good jobs, with fine benefits, producing cutting edge flooring and ceiling products for world markets. Others now produce exactly these same products ... meanwhile Armstrong is getting chopped into parts for sale to appease juries who sympathize essentially with smokers who insulated ships under war time schedules in marginally ventilated spaces. And people who have never shown symptoms of problems have attorneys who are doing what you see in this image to the city's largest employer.

Lancaster will prosper beyond this, but the folks in those homes all around this plant... One wonders if they will suffer a lot more than the complainants who had the courts tear into their workplace.

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