Union College, a private liberal arts institution, was founded in 1795 in Schenectady, New York. Union College was the first college chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York. In 1813, Union College became the first comprehensively planned college campus in the nation, and therefore a milestone in the history of American collegiate architecture.
For 175 years, Union College only admitted men, but in 1970, women were allowed to enroll. The college offers bachelor’s degrees in twenty-one areas of study, as well as opportunities for interdepartmental majors and self-designed organizing theme majors. Union College currently enrolls about 2,100 full-time students per year. The Union College campus occupies 130 acres in downtown, Schenectady, and it has undergone numerous expansions and renovations since its initial establishment.
Prior to the late 1970s, dozens of asbestos-containing materials were utilized during renovations and maintenance procedures at Union College, including fireproof insulation, pipe covering, joint compound, insulating cement and block insulation. Workers who handled these materials are at high risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Steam used for heating the buildings at Union College was delivered through an extensive system of pipes. Steam and hot water pipes were covered with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement, in order to protect the pipes and to provide a stable internal temperature within plumbing systems. Additional equipment, such as valves and pumps, contained asbestos gaskets and/or packing material. Asbestos was used as a component in these materials because of its inherent strength and ability to withstand high temperatures. When maintenance procedures were performed on the steam system, workers removed asbestos pipe covering and insulating cement in order to make repairs on associated equipment. After maintenance procedures were completed, new insulation was applied. Removing and applying insulation to equipment in the steam system caused asbestos dust and fibers to become airborne, which workers inhaled.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects at Union College were employed by various contractors throughout New York State. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at Union College and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.