Painter's union alleges non-union group of exposing lead in St. Louis schools

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 4:29 PM

(KMOV) -- Local union painters have accused a construction company of exposing lead to students and staff at two St. Louis high schools.

Those charges were made public at a school board meeting that took place Thursday evening.

Massive renovation projects are underway at Roosevelt High School and at Sumner High School.

A non-union company has the contract, although the painter’s union recently obtained cell video from someone who snuck into those schools to watch the work and claim they found something very concerning.

“There is lead-based paint present in those schools and there’s no containment and no oversight to protect the children going back to those schools,” said Page Lucks.

The videos show buckets full of debris, paint chips littering the floor, workers, the union claims, not wearing proper gear, sweeping stuff right out the door; all signs, according to the painters union, that the work is being done dangerously.

Lead-based paint is hazardous, especially to little kids. These two schools are slated to be the future home of programs specifically for pregnant students and their infants.

On Thursday, the union presented their side to the St. Louis Public School District School Board.

The contractor declined to go on camera, but told News 4 that both the EPA and OSHA have recently signed off on the work.

He told us his workers are licensed and believes these videos are fake.

As for the district, they told us that no red flags have emerged from the sites. Now that the allegations are out there, they told us they will conduct a thorough investigation.

“So at this time, we do not know if there’s lead for sure in these two schools?” asked Reporter Lauren Trager. “All we can say is we know there is lead, whether it’s been exposed, we will go and see,” said Roger Cayce with St. Louis Public Schools.

If the videos are real, the district noted whoever took them was trespassing on school grounds. 

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