Environment News Service

AmeriScan: February 3, 2000

HANFORD WHISTLEBLOWER BATTLES BLACKLISTING BY CONTRACTORS

SEATTLE, Washington, February 3, 2000 (ENS) - A federal worker who filed reports on safety concerns at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site has been blackballed for the fourth time, apparently with the support of the DOE, alleges a suit filed Tuesday by the Government Accountability Project (GAP). "Even as the Department of Energy proclaims 'Safety First,' it continues to ignore the plight of workers who dare to raise safety and health issues at Hanford," said Tom Carpenter, a program director at GAP, which represents Matt Taylor. The complaint names Hanford contractors Mike Johnson Construction company, Sun River Electrical and Bechtel Hanford, Inc., for refusing work to Taylor.

"Hanford contractors continue to blacklist Mr. Taylor with full knowledge and apparent support of the Energy Department," stated Carpenter. "Yet, the Energy Department seems not to care that its contractors continue to harass and blacklist employees who raise safety and health issues." Taylor's troubles began in 1999, when he began raising concerns about exposures to radioactive and toxic materials without the required health and safety protections, and in violation of procedures. Taylor alleges that he was harassed, his house and car vandalized, and witnesses who were supportive of him were threatened when he refused to drop his complaints. One witness, Jack Burger, had the brake lines to his truck slashed at work. Another was drummed out of his union stewardship position after testifying to the Labor Department. Taylor has two other complaints pending against other Hanford companies that either refused to hire him or allegedly created excuses to terminate him.

* * *

© Environment News Service (ENS) 2000. All Rights Reserved.