Office Plagued by Serious Mold Infestation, Safety of Employees and Public were at Risk
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is hailing the closure of the Ironton Social Security Administration in Ironton, OH office due to a dangerous mold infestation; however, the union is questioning why it took two years for the agency to take any substantive action.
“We’ve demanded SSA management close the office for more than two years,” said AFGE Local 3448 President David Sheagley. “The employees were experiencing respiratory problems and headaches among other symptoms because of the repeated exposure to the mold. Around 100 people are in and out of that office every day – retirees, the disabled – and they were being exposed to black mold. This was a dire public safety issue.”
“Although we are pleased the agency has taken notice and finally shut down the office, it’s a travesty that employees had to suffer through two years of breathing mold-infested air due to inaction by SSA leadership,” said Sheagley. “The mold created an unsafe work environment and put the employees and the public whom they serve at risk.”
While a new SSA facility is under construction in Ironton, employees are being transferred to Ashland, KY; Huntington, WV; and Portsmouth and Gallipolis, OH Social Security Offices in the interim. In total, thirteen employees are being displaced.
“This is a huge win for the employees of this office. The mold was not some minor, every day issue. This was a very unhealthy workplace, which was causing the employees to have health problems. We’d like to thank Senator Sherrod Brown and former Representative Charlie Wilson for their instrumental help in getting this mold-infested office closed and for caring about the health and well-being of SSA employees and the public they serve,” said Sheagley.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 625,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.