Companies, insurers, unions, and a group of senators have been negotiating for months over creation of a privately financed trust fund to compensate asbestos victims. The settlement would end asbestos lawsuits, which have numbered 200,000 in the past two years. The bill is being proposed by Senator Orrin G. Hatch and is generally supported by business groups. Labor groups believe some key provisions are missing, such as a guarantee that victims of asbestos disease will be compensated if the trust fund money runs out.
See Alex Berenson, The New York Times, May 21, 2003