The American Federation of Government Employees Local 2142 said it wants unsafe working conditions remedied. Union representatives also demanded hazardous pay for the workers, many of whom are sanders, grinders and sheet metal laborers. They filed the grievance with depot commanders Monday.
Workers were exposed to strontium chromate, a cancer-causing chemical applied as a primer for some helicopter parts used to in repairs at the depot, local union President Joe A. Gonzales said.
When drilled or sanded, the coating can become airborne. Many of the workers do not have proper protective equipment and some ventilation equipment is outdated or lacks repair, Gonzales said. Recent air quality testing showed unsafe levels of the chemical in the air, he said.
Base officials will consider the grievance. If they don't take action, the grievance will go into arbitration, said Gonzales.