Taiwan: Former RCA employees win decade-long lawsuit over "worst ever work-related health incident"

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Author: 華視新聞網

RCA…曾经是美国家电第一品牌…在台湾经济起飞时期的1970年至1992年期间,RCA 在台设立子公司…并在桃园、竹北、宜兰等地设厂。

1994年…RCA[被举发]桃园厂长期挖井倾倒有机溶剂等有毒废料,导致厂区土壤及地下水遭受严重污染…根据学者研究指出,RCA公司污染场址之各种污染物,确实有相当高的机率导致癌症或影响健康。由於RCA公司许多受僱劳工在工作时吸入或皮肤接触有机溶剂,导致员工长期暴露在高度致癌风险之工作环境。另外,RCA生產线劳工在厂区喝的饮水机是取自地下水,而非自来水…因此员工洗澡或饮水都大量暴 露在高致癌性之有机溶剂中。

RCA在台湾设厂期间,雇用员工高达2万至3万人。根据2001年统计,在RCA桃园厂工作多年的员工,至少已经有1,375人罹患癌症…至2007年已有216人过世…2015年4月17日,臺北地方法院一审宣判自救会胜诉,RCA,接手RCA的法商汤姆笙与美商奇异公司须赔偿5亿6445万元,全案可上诉。

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Article
18 April 2015

Erin Brockovich-style victory falls short on damages awarded: lawyer

Author: CNA

…The Taipei District Court ordered RCA Corporation's current owners to pay NT$564 million (US$18.21 million) in damages to the company's former workers and their families in what has been described as the worst ever work-related health incident in Taiwan's history…

U.S.-based RCA opened factories in the northern Taiwan areas of Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Yilan in 1970 to produce electric household appliances. The plants were shut down in 1992…[A]fter seeing many of their former colleagues get cancer, some former RCA workers began to suspect that the company exposed its employees to a toxic working environment and allowed them to drink contaminated underground water while the company's American mangers drank distilled water…the district court found RCA's factory to have used carcinogenic organic solvents, such as trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, on their production lines, putting their workers at risk of getting cancer.

The company failed to fulfill its responsibility to preserve the environment and control pollution, causing 61 people to die of cancer, another 243 people to suffer from cancer and another 141 people to fall sick to diseases other than cancer, the court said.

The court ruled that RCA and its two holding companies, Technicolor and Thomson Consumer Electronics (Bermuda) Ltd., pay NT$564.45 million in damages to the 445 former workers. RCA was taken over by…General Electric in 1985…Both GE and Thomson spent millions of dollars to clean up the site in the mid-1990s.

The NT$564 million award “cannot undo the actual harm,” self-help association leader Liu Ho-yun said, expressing disappointment at the size of the award. Each RCA victim in the case will receive compensation ranging from NT$350,000 to NT$4.47 million, amounts that Liu said would not even pay for the victims' medical bills. [also refers to PG&E]

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