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Working People Remember Those Lost Because of 9/11

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9/11

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 18 years ago today, affected all Americans, but they had a particular impact upon first responders. Thousands of lives were lost that day and more died in the aftermath because of illnesses related to the attacks. The members and leaders of the various unions affected by the 9/11 attacks are memorializing the anniversary in various ways. Here is what they are saying:

 

 

The New York City Police Department has a memorial website in honor of the law enforcement officers who lost their lives in connection with 9/11.

Also watch these videos, which provide more context and pay further tribute.

This blog was originally published by the AFL-CIO on September 11, 2019. Reprinted with permission. 

About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist. Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012, he worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.


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13 Years After 9/11, Honor the Victims, Help Those Still Suffering

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Richard TrumkaToday we mark the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11. As we honor the memories of the lives that were lost that day, we should also remember the thousands of people who are still suffering.

More than 100,000 rescue and recovery workers—including firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, building and construction trades workers and transit workers—and hundreds of thousands of other workers and residents near Ground Zero were exposed to a toxic mix of dust and fumes from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Now more than 30,000 responders are sick and many have died from respiratory diseases and other health problems.

The AFL-CIO is a longtime advocate of the World Trade Center Health Program and supported the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed in 2010 and provided medical care and compensation to the victims. The law, which expires after five years, needs to be extended and has garnered bipartisan support to achieve that goal. This year, in remembrance of all who lost their lives on 9/11 and in honor of the brave responders who are still suffering, we ask you to contact your member of Congress and urge them to support the 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

Originally appeared in ALF-CIO Blog on September 11, 2014. Reprinted with permission.

About the author: Richard Trumka was elected President of the AFL-CIO in 2009 by acclamation at the Federation’s 26th convention in Pittsburgh, Pa., and re-elected in 2013 by AFL-CIO convention delegates in Los Angeles. His election, following 15 years of service as the AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer, capped Trumka’s rise to leadership of the nation’s largest labor federation from humble beginnings in the small coal mining communities of southwest Pennsylvania.


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Union Heroes Made a Difference on 9/11

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Image: James ParksAs the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack approaches, the union movement remembers those who lost their lives, those who risked their lives to get others to safety and those who took part in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts that followed.

On the AFL-CIO website here, you can find a video we produced after the attacks of union members describing their efforts. Also on the site is a message from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and links to union websites about 9/11.

A member of AFGE Local 2004, Jeffrey Matthews was employed as a federal police officer with the Defense Protective Service (now called the U.S. Pentagon Police) on 9/11. His and other AFGE members’ stories are featured here. He says when he saw the TV broadcast of a plane flying into the World Trade Center, he jumped into his police uniform, grabbed his weapon, ran to his car and headed for the Pentagon.

While Matthews was on his way, Margaret Espinoza, a paraprofessional in a school two blocks from the World Trade Center, was already trying to get students safely out of the building. A member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), an affiliate of AFT, Espinoza remembers the dust and noise, the confusion and fear. She and a colleague, Julia Martinez, partly wheeled and partly carried two wheelchair-bound students to safety through streets choked with debris.

Across New York City, teachers, school staff and administrators helped secure safe passage home for 8,000 students without a single serious injury. You’ll find Espinoza’s story and those of other AFT members here. She  says:

They did just an awesome job, a wonderful job in the aftermath. At school, everyone was like family, and we came together in kindness and decency.

Meanwhile, as Matthews approached the Pentagon, the smoke was still billowing from the building.

There were helicopters taking the injured away. It was pure chaos.

He was assigned a location to scan the crowds and onlookers for snipers. Later he was  assigned to guard the morgue tent. He spent the next 26 hours helping the U.S. Marshals Service provide scene security and helping the FBI collect and document evidence.

Witnessing the carnage of the attack, he thought: I have stared into the face of Satan, and I still remain to fight another day.

This post originally appeared in the AFL-CIO Now Blog on September 9, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: James Parks: My first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when my colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. I saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. I am a journalist by trade, and I worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. I also have been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. My proudest career moment, though, was when I served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.


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