October 29, 1997 in City

Union Investigates Fatality

From Staff Reports

The union that represents 1,000 workers at Kaiser Aluminum Corp.’s Mead smelter has launched an investigation into the accident that killed one of its members Monday.

Officials with United Steelworkers of America, Local 329, said Tuesday they are looking into the death of James Vandoren.

Vandoren, a 33-year-old mechanic, died of a heart attack nearly five hours after the Bobcat front-end loader he was repairing fell on top of him Monday afternoon.

Union officials said safety chairman Tim Charbonneau is investigating the accident.

“There are some issues,” said Steve Sims, chairman of the union’s grievance committee. Sims declined to elaborate, saying it is too early in the investigation.

Kaiser officials and inspectors with the state Department of Labor and Industries also are investigating.

Also Tuesday, the union offered condolences to Vandoren’s wife and made counselors available to workers upset by the accident.

, DataTimes

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