Transit workers ignored by 9/11 museum are angry

Transit workers who labored at Ground Zero say they were erased from the history of the valiant rescue and recovery effort by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

This week, they created a petition asking for “a prominent exhibit” there to showcase the 3,000 crane operators, dump truck drivers, earth movers and steel workers of Transit Workers Union Local 100 who helped in the effort.

“We basically wound up on the editing room floor,” electronic equipment maintainer Mario Galvet told The Post. “In those first 48 hours, we were the biggest presence there. We had the firm belief that there were people to rescue. Our guys were there frantically trying to clear the debris for all the emergency vehicles that were trying to get in.

“We were there because our agency was the only one that had the equipment and the resources to do what we were doing. We had a 40-ton crane down there; it showed up the same night.”

Although most of the transit workers were assigned for a week, many stayed long after on their own time.

9/11 transit worker Alan Grande- who was on the pile at Ground Zero.
TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano demands the National September 11th Memorial and Museum to showcase orange vests used by transit workers.
Former Gov. George Pataki gave a pin commemorating MTA workers who worked on Ground Zero.
Former Gov. George Pataki gave a pin commemorating MTA workers who worked on Ground Zero.

“They’re not even first responders, they could have turned around and said, ‘That’s not our job,” TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano said.

Galvet visited the museum when it first opened in 2014 and returned on Sept. 7 and realized “not a thing has changed.” Only one tiny item gives a nod to his workforce.

“There’s just a solitary little lapel pin that belonged to the governor [George Pataki] at the time and it bears a logo of the MTA on it,” he said. “It’s about maybe a sixteenth of an inch in diameter.”

TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano praised transit workers for being first responders following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano praised transit workers for being first responders following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Transit workers played a significant role in cleaning up debris from the fallen World Trade Center towers.
Transit workers played a significant role in cleaning up debris from the fallen World Trade Center towers.

Many of the union workers who were on the ground then are now sick or have died from health conditions related to 9/11.

“They would return to their lockers covered head to toe in ash, you could only see their pupils,” said Julie Booth, whose father, Robert, an ironworker there, is now fighting blood cancer.

Museum officials said they do “have … donations from the MTA in our collection” and that the TWU is represented in the list of unions in the “After 9/11” section of a core exhibit. They also mentioned the Memorial Glade, a path with six large stones, is dedicated to rescue and recovery workers.

Mario Galvet, a TWU executive board member, recalled transit workers toiling to clear debris for ambulances to arrive at Ground Zero.
Mario Galvet, a TWU executive board member, recalled transit workers toiling to clear debris for ambulances to arrive at Ground Zero.

“You don’t even have a transit vest in there,” said Utano. “Like we were wiped out of history.”

Per: NYP

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