Saturday, 15 September 2001

How union members rallied round

9/11 From Scotland in UNISON September 2001
Within minutes of the tragedy, construction workers contacted Bob Walsh of the Iron Workers Local 40 with offers of help. By the time the National Guard called the union, 1,000 union members were available.

The union set up three teams of recovery workers to be rotated including volunteers from Local 78, experts in asbestos handling.

"As I watch the steelworkers they progress in my mind from admirable to heroic", wrote Firefighter Dennis Smith, IAAF magazine founder, whose first hand story gives a chilling but human account of the hours after the attack (click here to link to the story).

SEIU Local 1199NY reported so many health workers volunteering that the Health Department couldn't handle the volume.

The NY State Psycholgical Association sent a disaster response team to help traumatised workers and their families.

The United Federation of Teachers and the NYSPA developed a package to help schoolchildren comprehend the events, stressing the importance of not blaming ethnic groups.

The AFL-CIO co-ordinated efforts between the Red Cross and union disaster relief efforts. Staff helped set up a Compassionate Care Centre.

Teamsters responded to Red Cross appeals to deliver communications equipment from Memphis.

20,000 face masks were gathered from bakeries for the rescue effort by Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers locals 3 and 50.

In Washington, hundreds of union members plan to go door to door for volunteers and contributions to the relief effort.

The New York State AFL-CIO, Fire Fighters, the Westchester/Putnam Counties AFL-CIO Central Labor Body and United Food and Commercial Workers have teamed up to provide truckloads of food from union supermarkets to firefighters participating in the World Trade Center rescue.

The New York City labor council is organizing a clothing drive for emergency service workers.

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