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Ralph N. Krieger, joined key fight as union president

Sept. 12, 1940 – Sept. 24, 2013

Ralph N. Krieger, of Alden, a union president who played a key role in the fight to get compensation for local workers exposed to radiation from the Manhattan Project, died Tuesday in Delaware Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. He was 73.

Born in Buffalo, he attended School 59, then was an apprentice at a heating company in the Finger Lakes. He served in the Army and was stationed in Korea.

Returning from service, Mr. Krieger worked as a meat cutter at Tops Markets until 1964, when he took a job at Linde Corp., later the Linde Division of Union Carbide, in the Town of Tonawanda.

A millwright and maintenance man, he worked at Linde Corp. for 40 years, until the union plant operation closed.

He served for many years as president of Local 8-215, Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, and fought tirelessly on behalf of workers who developed cancer and other illnesses related to nuclear radiation at several sites in the area.

“The workers at these plants never knew what they were dealing with because of the secrecy surrounding the work on the bomb,” Mr. Krieger told an interviewer in 2003.

“A lot of people in Western New York have been helped by what he did,” his brother, Roger, said.

Also a master tradesman and custom cabinetmaker, he built his own home in Alden.

In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Sharon Sweet; a son, Randy; three daughters, Lynette Cole, Sharlene Sanderson and Amanda Krieger-Royer; and a sister, Barbara Chase.

Services will be at 8 p.m. today in Charles Meyer Funeral Home, 13228 Broadway, Alden.

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