TI will get word out
Ex-nuke workers due federal help
RICK FOSTER SUN CHRONICLE
ATTLEBORO - Texas Instruments is planning to work with the government to get the word out to former atomic workers suffering from cancer about help from a federal government program.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III said the company, which once fabricated nuclear fuel for the Navy at its Forest Street manufacturing complex, has agreed to notify former workers about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. The program provides financial compensation and medical payments to those who might have contracted cancer as a result of their work.
Hundreds of employees who worked at the plant for TI and its predecessor Metals & Controls have received compensation for cancer, according to U.S. Department of Labor records.
Some area families have multiple members who worked at the plant who have contracted cancer.
The federal government created a special classification for employees who worked at the TI plant from 1952 to 1967, making it easier for workers who contracted certain kinds of cancer and who meet other criteria to receive assistance.
The federal program provides $150,000 in compensation, plus medical benefits for those who qualify.
Nonetheless, Larry Darcey, a former TI manager who lives in Rehoboth, and others have said few of the former plant workers were ever notified that they could get compensation or help in treating their cancer.
Darcey said some are now in dire financial straits.
Their story was featured on The Sun Chronicle's front page on Feb. 3.
Kennedy saw The Sun Chronicle story and called the issue to the attention of TI President and CEO Richard Templeton during a congressional hearing.
Kennedy said the company reached out to his office with an offer to cooperate with federal agencies to inform former workers.
Darcey, who said he has no grudge against his former employer, says he's hopeful that the company will be able to contact as many of its former workers as possible by mining pension and retiree records.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the company fabricated fuel and other components at its factory from 1952 to 1981.
The buildings and grounds of the former plant were extensively decontaminated during the 1990s when state and federal officials approved the cleanup measures.
Kennedy's office said the company plans to send letters to former workers informing them about federal help and include a brochure with information about the compensation program.