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Courthouse employees protest efforts underway ahead of Wednesday’s trial

Courthouse employee protest efforts underway ahead of Wednesday's trial
Published: Apr. 24, 2022 at 11:10 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -A lawsuit, filed by employees of the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield against the Massachusetts Trial Court is set to go before the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday.

Courthouse employees will be protesting outside the courthouse again Monday as they continue to push for change from the Massachusetts Trial Court, arguing what they believe are unsafe working conditions. We spoke with George Noel, Business Manager for Opieu Local 6, who represents these employees, as we look ahead to this week’s trial.

“We are going to be out there Monday, to be you know, we want to be heard. We want the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator to listen to us that people are frightened to come to work, people are sick, people are worried about their safety,” said Noel.

Employees at Springfield’s Roderick Ireland Courthouse will be protesting for the second time in two weeks Monday afternoon. This comes following months of controversy surrounding the building that employs more than 550 people, after an independent study earlier this year found toxic, cancer-causing mold inside.

“I’ve been contacted by a group of family members that are concerned about their relatives that work in that court and they will be out there with us too,” said Noel.

Noel told Western Mass News the Massachusetts Trial Court continues to conduct mold remediation efforts. But he said he does not think that is enough following the five ALS deaths and 60 cancer diagnoses among courthouse employees over the last several years.

“I want our members and the employees that work there and the general public to be in a safe environment. There is remediation going on at the courthouse, I don’t think it’s responsible to have people in a building while this is going on even when it’s occurring off hours because of the contaminants that get spread throughout the building,” said Noel.

Noel is continuing to plead with the trial court to relocate courthouse employees away from the building. He also will be at court on Wednesday, serving as a witness for the upcoming trial in the lawsuit set to go before the State’s Supreme Judicial Court.

“You shouldn’t have to be sick to have a job, you shouldn’t have to die in order to have a job. The court has a lawful and moral obligation to provide a safe workplace for its employees all we ask is they do it,” said Noel.

Stick with Western Mass News as we follow this week’s trial.