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State Parole Officers Battling “Sick Building” in New Haven

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Larry Dorman (860) 989-9127 or ldorman@council4.org

State Parole Officers Battling “Sick Building” in New Haven

New Haven, CT, Oct. 24, 2016 – Concerned by the continuation of an unhealthy work environment in the aftermath of state safety and health citations, state parole officers and their union are urging the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to immediately move them out of their New Haven office location at 50 Fitch St. 

In July, CONN-OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) levied a $1,000 fine against the Department of Correction for failing to maintain a clean and sanitary workplace. CONN-OSHA specifically cited the presence of visible mold and excessive dust throughout the building. The DOC was previously cited by CONN-OSHA in November 2012. 

Veteran Parole Officer Paula Curry and other staff believe that mold and air quality concerns have not been fully addressed. They have filed workers’ compensation claims alleging that the Fitch Street complex is a toxic work environment that threatens their respiratory and immune systems.

“Working conditions are deplorable for parole officers and staff, not to mention ex-offenders we’re supervising and trying to reintegrate into our communities,” said Curry, a union steward for AFSCME Local 1565, which represents correctional officers, parole officers and others. “This building literally flunks the smell test. It’s compromising our health and safety to work here.”

The state of Connecticut, through the agency of DAS, leases the Fitch Street property on behalf of the Department of Correction’s Parole and Community Services. The landlord is Edward Roubeni of Great Neck, NY. The City of New Haven Health Department has also filed a complaint against Roubeni.

“Another day in this building is a day too long,” said Parole Officer and Local 1565 Parole Representative Mark Sarsfield. “Getting sick on the job is not supposed to be a condition of employment.” (Sarsfield works out of the Norwich parole office.)

State Correctional Officer and Local 1565 President Michael Tuthill, emphasized the union’s position that if DAS can’t move the workers out of Fitch Street, then it needs to explore immediately other options such as a mobile trailer office.

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