Monday, April 29, 2013

One World Trade Center

The spire of One World Trade Center was scheduled to be placed atop the under-construction building, but bad weather forced workers to reschedule. But that didn’t put a damper on the spirits of thousands of union men and women, including many Teamsters, who built the 104-floor skyscraper that replaces the fallen Twin Towers.

High winds forced the postponement, but when the spire is in place, the building's official height will be 1,776 feet. One World Trade Center is scheduled to open for business in 2014.

More than 1,200 Teamsters work on the site on any given day, mainly delivering materials. They have played a big role in the construction of the skyscraper and in 2011, Teamster magazine covered the progress. Here are some highlights from that story:

In World War I, Teamsters taught soldiers to drive trucks when the military was moving from a cavalry to motorized units. During a polio outbreak in the 1950s, Teamsters jumped into action to make and deliver vaccinations to the entire American population. In World War II, Teamsters raised money for war bonds, started scrap metal and rubber drives to assist the war effort, and more than 125,000 Teamsters served in the military during the war. The union immediately worked to help families, communities and employers who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Sept. 11, 2001, was a day like no other in our nation’s history, but Teamsters reacted with characteristic solidarity. Local unions and Joint Councils in the metro areas of New York City and Washington, D.C. all played a part in the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts, and the International Union also took action to make sure members were protected from the economic fallout and health risks of the terrorist attacks. Teamsters from across North America donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund to help those in need. Today, Teamsters are working on rebuilding the site.

“I have heard our members describe their work on the World Trade Center site as an honor,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We have never taken on a challenge that we can’t conquer. The World Trade Center project is a testament to the courage of our members on the day of the tragedy, and their commitment to the vision the planners have for making the site a crowning jewel of the nation’s largest city. As we work side by side with operating engineers, carpenters, electricians and more, the solidarity and strength of belonging to a union brotherhood shines ever brighter.”

“Our city suffered a devastating blow on Sept. 11, but I am so proud to know that our union brothers and sisters stepped up, dove in and worked to first excavate the site, dig the foundations for the new structures and now are helping raise the structures up into the air,” said George Miranda, International Vice President and President of Joint Council 16…

Teamster members have not stopped working at the Ground Zero site since the day of the attacks 10 years ago, and they now have a huge part in the rebuilding of the neighborhood.

“I believe the strength of our union brotherhood has been a good counter-balance to the despair and pain borne by the families of the victims of Sept. 11,” said Tom Gesauldi, President of Local 282, which is actively involved in construction at Ground Zero. “Our members are deeply committed to the rebuilding, or actually, the rebirth of the World Trade Center. Their commitment began on the first day of cleanup and continues today.”

“I worked on the cleanup, the excavation, of this site,” said John Mazzola. “Before my work here I was a concrete driver for 20 years. On 9/11 I was working on a construction site nearby.” Mazzola is an on-site steward for Local 282 and coordinates the deliveries to Towers 2, 3 and 4.

Teamsters also bring equipment to the site, such as mobile or crawler cranes. Kenny Montoux is a 28-year Teamster who has worked as a crane driver for 16 years. “I started work here two days after the towers came down,” Montoux said. “The construction here is a tribute back to New York. Bringing back the glory of what it once was.”

“It’s a shame what happened here, but I think we are building something beautiful,” said Billy Petrino, the on-site steward for Tower 3. “My father was a Teamster, too. I’m glad to be working here.”