HAGERSTOWN ? Pickets donned biohazard gear as a symbolic gesture to protest lead-based imports Wednesday in front of the Hagerstown office of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th.
Jerry Ernest, a member of United Steelworkers Local 9477 and leader of the picket, said union members across the country spent the day protesting 100 congressional district offices as part of the National Day of Action on Toxic Trade. The event was intended to convince Congress to pass the U.S. Food and Produce Responsibility Act, which is designed to help safeguard Americans against toxic imports, like toys and toothpaste, he said.
"(Toxic imports are) undermining our safety," Ernest said. "We want to hold the manufacturers accountable for bringing these products into the country."
About 20 people from five labor unions participated in the local picket.
Bartlett was not at his office in Hagerstown, but Lisa Wright, a spokeswoman for the congressman, said in a telephone interview that Bartlett "welcomed the attention of the labor union members to highlight bipartisan efforts" to address unsafe imports.