Over 100 years ago, when the Industrial Revolution was revving up, Local
36 was formed to organize insulators, also known as, “laggers.”
Laggers applied insulation on hot surfaces to keep the heat in. Most of
the insulation materials at the time were made of asbestos, a naturally
occurring mineral renown for it’s heat retention properties.
Laggers kept the fires burning hot. They insulated pipes and boilers in
ships, paper mills, refineries, powerhouses, as well as in hospitals,
schools and churches. After a hard day’s work, laggers would be
covered in white dust, dust which they brought home to their wives and children.
Little did the laggers know that asbestos, touted by industrial magnates
as a “magic mineral,” was in fact a toxic, carcinogenic “wicked
white powder.” The asbestos fibers infiltrated their lungs like
tiny, ticking time bombs, set to go off 20-40 years after exposure. By
the 1970's, across the nation insulators began to die by the hundreds
from “white lung.”
In 1989, fresh out of law school, I came back to my home state of Oregon
to meet with local labor unions about representing their tradesmen. The
first union to take a chance on me was Local 36 Heat and Frost Insulators
Union out of Portland, Oregon.
For the next 30 years, it was and continues to be my honor and privilege
to represent some of the finest people in the world -- hard working men
and women who helped us win wars, build industries, and advance civilization,
but who in so doing were deliberately poisoned by the worst corporations
in the world.
In 2012 with the assistance of Local 36 laggers I built Worthy Brewing
in Bend, Oregon.
Quite frankly, my law firm’s representation of laggers, pipefitters,
boilermakers, carpenters, welders, drywallers and other tradesman and
women afflicted with asbestos diseases has helped build Worthy Brewing.
In 2014, Worthy Brewing brewed and bottled Local 36 Red Lager as a way
of honoring Local 36 on it’s 100th anniversary. It was my way of
saying “Thank You!”
- Thank you for insulating our ships that fought the wars, from WWI, to Vietnam,
- Thank you for keeping our boilers warm and our coolers cool.
- Thank you for their hard work, their energy, their fight for living wages
and safe working conditions.
- Thank you for their sacrifice. Despite the decline in the shipbuilding
business, and the ravages of asbestos, which too often wiped out entire
families of laggers, Local 36 has soldiered on, with pride, strength and
On July 1, Worthy Brewing labeled and canned a fresh batch of Local 36
carefully witnessed with wet lips and appreciation by Walt Caudle, Business
Agent for Local 36. To all our union friends we appreciate your support
Worthington & Caron continues to represent asbestos poisoned workers
and talcum powder users.