Caption: Pedro Córdoba Valdivieso, Peru, Credit: Jon Miller
Image by: Jon Miller 
Pedro Córdoba Valdivieso, Peru 

Metal Worker

From: Homelands Productions
Series: WORKING
Length: 08:23

Jon Miller profiles a worker in a giant smelter in the Peruvian Andes who is suffering from an incurable lung disease.

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Almost everyone in La Oroya, Peru, depends on the giant multi-metal smelter and refinery that sprawls across the valley floor. It doesn't just dominate La Oroya visually, aurally, and olfactorily, but also economically, politically, and emotionally. That makes most townspeople tolerant of conditions that elsewhere might lead to open rebellion. Not so Pedro Córdoba Valdivieso, a mechanic who works in the smelter. He is suffering from an incurable lung disease caused by years of inhaling rock dust. And he's determined to make the company pay. Jon Miller's profile is part of the WORKING series from Homelands Productions. 

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Piece Description

Almost everyone in La Oroya, Peru, depends on the giant multi-metal smelter and refinery that sprawls across the valley floor. It doesn't just dominate La Oroya visually, aurally, and olfactorily, but also economically, politically, and emotionally. That makes most townspeople tolerant of conditions that elsewhere might lead to open rebellion. Not so Pedro Córdoba Valdivieso, a mechanic who works in the smelter. He is suffering from an incurable lung disease caused by years of inhaling rock dust. And he's determined to make the company pay. Jon Miller's profile is part of the WORKING series from Homelands Productions. 

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

We may be living in the Silicon Age, but the world still depends on good old-fashioned metal. Making that metal is a dirty business. In one town in the Peruvian Andes, more than 90 percent of the kids living near a giant American-owned smelter suffer from lead poisoning. Most of the workers at the plant think it's a fair trade-off -- the jobs pay well, and the company is gradually making improvements. Pedro Córdoba [COR-do-ba] is an exception. Jon Miller visited in 2006. His profile is part of the WORKING series from Homelands Productions.

OUTRO:

That was Jon Miller reporting. WORKING is produced by Homelands Productions in collaboration with Marketplace Radio. To see pictures and hear audio, go to working.homelands.org. While you're there, you can also tell the world what you think about YOUR job.

Additional Credits

WORKING is a collaboration between Homelands Productions and Marketplace Radio. Major funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Related Website

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/segments/working/pedrocordova.html