General Motors Chevrolet (Buffalo)
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William Durant formed the General Motors Corporation in 1916. Chevrolet has long been an essential product line in the GM Corporation.
Chevrolet ran an assembly plant in Buffalo beginning in 1923. It was at this plant that the first Chevrolet automobile was assembled on August 13th, 1923. The facility employed roughly 400 workers at the time.
When the U.S. entered World War II the plant’s production of civilian automobiles was interrupted. In 1942 alone, Chevrolet Buffalo produced components for more than 60,000 aircraft engines and employed 6,000 people. After the war the facility became a manufacturing plant producing rear axles for passenger trucks and cars.
In 1984 the plant became part of another GM division known as the Saginaw Division and spent 10 years in service as Saginaw Gear and Axle until acquisition by American Axle Manufacturing (AAM). It was unionized by Local 434 of the UAW under the reorganization of GM but AAM closed the Buffalo plant in 2007 due to lagging demand for mid-sized pickup trucks and SUVs.
Auto plants employ vast networks of high temperature piping and machinery. Plants built until 1980 had asbestos-containing pipes, boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, gaskets, tanks, and other equipment.
Chevrolet Buffalo workers may also have been exposed through asbestos-containing brake shoes, brake linings and brake pads. At Chevy’s Buffalo plant, asbestos-containing brake parts were components of the axles constructed there.
Grinding these brake components to size would have created airborne asbestos fibers. Automobile gaskets, clutches, transmission components and cylinder heads also contained asbestos. Certain plastic components of automobiles like brake blocks and engine components may have contained asbestos as well.
In addition, prior to the 1970s numerous building materials contained asbestos, particularly those used to construct industrial facilities such as automobile plants. These materials included firebrick, electrical panels, joint compounds, tiles, and fireproofing.
Chevrolet’s Buffalo plant thus had many possible sources of asbestos exposure, making workers there prime suspects for developing asbestos-related disease. Family members of Chevrolet Buffalo plant workers may have been exposed to asbestos, as fibers can be carried home on clothing or hair.
At Belluck & Fox, our nationally recognized asbestos attorneys have extensive experience fighting for families and workers exposed to asbestos. We are proud to have secured more than $1 billion so far for asbestos victims and their families.
We are ready to help you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, where we will review your claim and discuss all your legal options. Our law firm does not charge any legal fees upfront to begin work on asbestos claims, and we do not get paid unless and until we secure compensation for you.