Magazine article The American Prospect

Anthony Mazzocchi, 1926-2002. (Devil in the Details)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Anthony Mazzocchi, 1926-2002. (Devil in the Details)

Article excerpt

OUR FRIEND TONY MAZZOCCHI died Oct. 5 at the age of 76. As much as any American, he was the father of the modern movement for worker health and safety. Tony grew up in working-class Brooklyn during the Depression, the son of Neopolitan immigrants, in a house where the children slept three to a bed. After attending technical school under the GI Bill, he ended up working at a Long Island cosmetics factory where, at age 26, he was elected president of his local in what eventually became the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW).

In that era, health and safety casualties were dealt with largely through workers' compensation payments, which shielded the company against large damage awards and prevented a public-health approach to reform. Listening to workers and observing the effects of factory life on their lives, Tony involved himself in one battle after another, representing those poisoned by toxic chemicals or maimed by radioactive materials. At one factory, he intervened on behalf of male workers who were developing breasts while making birth-control pills.

In the 1950s, when concern arose about nuclear testing, one particularly suspect test by-product was radioactive strontium-90, which tended to accumulate in human bone tissue and increase the risk of cancer. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.