Ads Encourage Hanford Whistleblowing;
GAP TV and Radio Campaign Focuses on Fired Whistleblower
Document: 04.01.05 Hanford Release.doc
A new campaign of television and radio spots addresses past safety issues that occurred at the Hanford nuclear site and encourages Hanford workers who have witnessed wrongdoing to step forward.
Distributed by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the advertisements focus on Matt Taylor, a GAP client and former Hanford whistleblower. The spots detail his reasons for coming forward with information vital to public health and safety. The advertisements began running Thursday, March 31st, and are available for viewing online at www.whistleblower.org.
After witnessing safety violations and raising questions at staff meetings, Taylor was warned by management to quash his concerns. Some coworkers, fearful of losing work if projects were shut down, also began harassing him – an environment that management not only condoned, but encouraged. Acts of retaliation against Taylor included physical assaults on his person and damage to his home and vehicle. After settling with a Hanford contractor for the mistreatment, Taylor left that position in 1999. Dispatched to other Hanford work, he was repeatedly discriminated against by contractors before reaching a settlement and leaving Hanford for good in 2001.
In both media spots, Matt explains the ramifications of standing up for worker rights and the community, stating "I finally asked some questions. I got harassed for it, even got threats against my home. And like others who spoke up, I lost my job."
"Matt Taylor's case is just one of dozens we encounter at Hanford every year," says Tom Carpenter, GAP Nuclear Oversight Program Director. "These ads encourage Hanford workers to take a stand to protect their community, the environment and themselves. The public relies on workers to report problems before someone gets seriously hurt."
The spots will primarily run in the Tri-Cities and Yakima areas. The campaign comes at a time when new revelations about the Hanford cleanup occur regularly. Just last week, reports surfaced that nuclear fuel and reactor fuel rods were unexpectedly discovered at burial sites. All nuclear fuel and related dumping during Hanford's plutonium-processing days were supposed to be recorded thoroughly.
GAP has represented Hanford whistleblowers since 1987. GAP officials played a vital part in helping pass Initiative 297 last year, coauthoring legislation of the bill which prevents dumping additional nuclear byproduct at Hanford before current waste is removed.