Maurice Copeland, who worked for 32 years at the Kansas City Plant at Bannister Federal Complex, received the Charles E. Bebb Peace Merit Award from PeaceWorks-KC March 11 at the group’s Annual Meeting. During his last 12 years at the KC Plant, which made parts for nuclear weapons, Copeland supervised the tool and die room and the engineering shop. He retired in 2000, when, he says, he “could no longer work in good conscience” at the plant because he was not allowed to give sufficient precautions to employees working with highly toxic substances.
Copeland was and is a friend to countless workers and family members who became sick or died from contaminants at the KC Plant. Accepting his award, Copeland thanked PeaceWorks-KC members who have trespassed at the KC Plant or the new plant, the National Security Campus, to protest production of nuclear weapons. Concerning trespassers’ trips to jail, Copeland said March 11, “You didn’t have to do that! You didn’t have to encounter some of the things we were encountering!”