Plasterers Local 9 represents union plasterers in Western New York. In 1864, Local 9 became a charter member of the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA). Local 9 in North Tonawanda is also a member of the Buffalo Buildings and Construction Trades Council. Up until the late 1970s, Local 9 Plasterers applied dozens of asbestos-containing building materials, including fireproof insulation, acoustic plaster, acoustic tile and joint compound (mud). Members of Local 9 worked for contractors, such as Buffalo Acoustical, Hudson Plastering and Mader Plastering. Plasterers also worked at a variety of job sites throughout Western New York, including Bethlehem Steel, Ashland Oil, VA Hospital, Buffalo General Hospital, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Kleinhans Music Hall, Main Place Mall and Tower, Pohlman Foundry and the University at Buffalo North Campus.
Local 9 Plasterers were involved in the application of asbestos-containing joint compound (mud) in order to seal seams between sheets of drywall. Asbestos-containing joint compound was manufactured as a dry mix (a powder that requires water in order to form a paste for application) and ready-mix (an application-ready product). Dry mix joint compound was packaged in paper bags, and it was mixed with water, in order to form a paste, and applied to the drywall. Three coats of joint compound were generally applied to drywall seams. After each coat of compound dried, it was sanded to a smooth surface. During both the mixing and sanding processes of asbestos joint compound, dust and fibers were released into the air putting not only Local 9 Plasterers at risk for asbestos exposure, but other tradesmen who worked in the vicinity as well.
Local 9 Plasterers also applied sprayed-on fireproofing and acoustical materials. Sprayed-on fireproofing and acoustical materials were manufactured as a dry powder, mixed with water and sprayed onto structural steel (fireproofing material) or ceiling or wall surfaces (acoustical materials). During the application process of both fireproofing and acoustical materials, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where the material was being applied. Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing fire proofing and acoustical materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems, including mesothelioma or lung cancer. Carpenters and electricians, who also worked in the vicinity of where these materials were applied, were also put at risk for exposure to asbestos fibers and dust. Many workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust, and they performed their work without masks or protective gear.
Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved once worked as a Local #9 Plasterer and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.