Recently, tucked in a few longer articles about endorsements in the Massachusetts Senate race between Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D) was the news that the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local 6, had staged a protest outside a Brown press conference to set the record straight regarding a misleading attack ad Brown ran against Warren. Via the Boston Globe
…asbestos union workers stood outside Brown’s press conference and said they were irate over Brown’s latest television advertisement that attacks Warren for representing Travelers Insurance as part of a lawsuit related to asbestos poisoning. The event was coordinated by Democrats, who are backed strongly by the unions.
The new Brown ad quotes Warren saying, “I’ve been out there working for people who have been injured by big corporations.”
A narrator then says: “Warren helped Travelers Insurance restrict payments to victims of asbestos poisoning. The results were disastrous for victims. The insurance company saved millions, and Elizabeth Warren got paid 40 times what they paid victims. Elizabeth Warren is just not who she says she is.”
“He’s flat out misrepresenting the facts,” said Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local No. 6. “It’s offensive to all these people who’ve lost lives” to asbestos-related illness, he said.
Boudrow said Brown has refused to meet with him and his members, who showed up previously to protest outside his campaign headquarters.
The advertisement does paint a somewhat misleading picture of Warren’s work for Travelers. She was paid $212,000 from 2008 through 2010 to help the company in a Supreme Court case in which it wanted to secure immunity from lawsuits in exchange for releasing a $500 million trust to pay asbestos victims. In that case, most asbestos victims were on Travelers’ side.
But in a separate case, in which Warren was not involved, the company won an order that allowed it to retain its immunity without paying out the settlement.
A related article on Mass Live added that the union sent a letter to a Brown aide “faulting the senator” for the ad and clarified Boudrow’s political contributions which were the focus of Brown’s counter-attack regarding the asbestos:
Brown’s campaign said Boudrow is a Democrat who contributed money to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. Campaign finance reports show Boudrow gave Patrick’s campaign $25 in 2010.
Twenty-five dollars! Holy smokes! That’s small enough to type out using letters instead of numbers!
Adeptly, Warren responded to the entire ordeal with a video this week featuring the wife of one of the asbestos victims. The video praises Warren’s efforts to get more compensation for the deceased: