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