FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 19, 2022
(SANTA ANA, CALIF.) — U.S. Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., joined Kingspan factory workers at a community rally today to celebrate their victories advocating for safety and environmental protections in the Santa Ana skylight factory where they work. He then marched with workers in the city’s industrial zone.
“Workers at Kingspan are leading a movement for dignity, fairness, and health and safety,” said Correa, who represents California’s 46th congressional district, which includes the Santa Ana factory. “I support their struggle and celebrate the changes that have come about through their advocacy and leadership.”
California State Senator Tom Umberg (D-Orange County), Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento, Santa Ana Unified School District board member Valeria Amezcua, and Santa Ana City Council members Nelida Mendoza, Johnathan Hernandez and Jesse Lopez were also present to support the workers.
Leaders from Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) also attended the rally.
In October 2021, a majority of Santa Ana Kingspan Workers united to demand a safe workplace and a fair process to decide whether to form a union. They continue to push for a fair process one year later. After workers filed whistleblower complaints with CalOSHA and CalEPA, Kingspan was cited for 22 health and safety violations, resulting in final penalties of $21,785 in September 2022, and a notice of violation by the Santa Ana Regional Water Board in January 2022. Last month, Kingspan also settled two cases the federal government brought against it for violating workers’ rights.
In 2021, Kingspan workers teamed up with U.C. Irvine professor and air pollution scientist Dr. Shahir Masri to document the levels of air pollution inside their factory over a three-day period in August 2021. The results showed average levels of particulate matter that were unhealthy according to EPA standards— in fact, they were worse than average outdoor air quality during the peak of southern California’s wildfires in 2020. Read Masri’s report here.
Kingspan claimed to be “planet passionate” while it was polluting the local watershed and had unhealthy working conditions at its Santa Ana facilities. The company corrected issues with its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan after the Santa Ana Water Board issued a notice of violation of its industrial pollution permit in January 2022. Environmental, community, faith, and labor groups have joined together to hold Kingspan accountable and tackle the broader problem of industrial pollution in Santa Ana, which too often takes a disproportionate toll on communities of color and the working class.
“Kingspan and other corporations like them are responsible to the communities in which they do business,” says Rev. Adiel DePano, lead pastor at Santa Ana United Methodist Church, on the CLUE website. “And workers negatively impacted by such enterprises have the right to ask that those issues be redressed in a fair manner.”
Photos of the rally and march are available upon request.