Hero of the Day: Dr. Thomas Mancuso

August 29, 2008

My father, who was a local labor leader and president for many years, died five years ago. The fellow at left is not him, but someone he admired. Among my dad’s effects was a book called, “Help for the Working Wounded,” issued by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and written by a fellow named Dr. Thomas Mancuso. That’s the guy at left.
Well, I picked up this pulpy looking thing and read it, and it was a shocking and detailed litany of safety outrages perpetrated upon working people by careless corporations. A lot of these dangers involved the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing.
Mancuso died in 2004 at age 92 after devoting his life to studying the effects of these exposures and fighting for stricter rules to protect workers. When the government pressured him to water down his findings about radiation exposure, he told them in his own way that they could fuck themselves. And his funds were cut off. But he kept on going and published his studies anyway.
Mancuso’s one of those heroes that doesn’t get mentioned in our general discourse, and in fact, even the English version of Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry on him—but the German version does. Go figure.
There’s not much on the web either, apart from this adequate piece from a blog called Confined Space.
So, let’s make Dr. Thomas Mancuso our hero of the day.