Full Circle: Union members were first responders on 9/11, now at heart of World Trade Center rebuilding

Whether we’re facing hurricanes, recessions, or terrorist attacks, we have faith that the workers of America will be there, ready to rebuild our communities. They are ready to serve and ready to work, in any circumstance. We were reminded of that strength while viewing and reading the moving slideshow in today’s New York Times on the over 3,200 construction workers rebuilding the World Trade Center site. It’s fitting: union members were among the first responders; union members served in the immediate cleanup; and now union members are part of the rebuilding.

AFSCME has also posted a poignant video, “We Remember,” in which first responders reflect on 9/11 and their colleagues who died that day. As AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee notes,

Public service workers were among the first on the scene following the attacks. Police officers, fire fighters, EMTs and other first responders rushed into the twin towers to rescue the injured. Emergency personnel from the tri-state areas created caravans to help dig through the rubble. Engineers worked up to 36-hour shifts trying to find survivors. Sanitation workers, child care providers and hundreds of other public employees delivered lunches, supplies and volunteered to do whatever was necessary. Similar acts of courage and service were seen at each of the attack sites. As we remember and mourn the fallen, let us continue to take pride in the vital services that public employees provide, day in and day out, in every region of our country.

Nearly all of the construction workers at the World Trade Center site are union members, which is readily apparent as you view the New York Times slideshow. Often showing their union pride on their hardhats, these members of the building trades understand that their work is extremely meaningful.

Joseph Sullivan, a plumber with Local 1, told the Times, “There is a lot of pride in working there.”

Beni Mejas, a cement and concrete laborer and deck foreman in Local 20 said, “I just love where I’m at right now. I love the project. I send my son pictures every day. He is very proud of his father.”

Just as we looked on with admiration at the first responders risking life and limb to rescue people on that fateful day ten years ago, we stand and watch the rebirth of the World Trade Center site with a similar sense of pride.

*photo courtesy of the Ironworkers

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 12:57 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Full Circle: Union members were first responders on 9/11, now at heart of World Trade Center rebuilding”

  1. Wes Baggett says:

    People who seem to have problems with unions i ask you this question “Do you really want this project to be built by the LOWEST bidder”

  2. Will McDonald says:

    Great point, Wes.

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