It may be 17 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but the TWU family feels its effects every single day. In total, about 3,000 TWU Local 100 members were either assigned to the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero or volunteered to help. Members of TWU Locals throughout the New York metropolitan area and beyond also volunteered in the recovery effort. Nearly two decades later, these heroes are still falling ill – and dying – from the toxic air they breathed, even though then-EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman deemed it safe.
“What these brave brothers and sisters did is the epitome of going above and beyond the call of duty. They sacrificed so much – and they are paying the ultimate price,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “The TWU will never forget those who put their health and safety on the line.”
Each year, TWU Local 100 honors those who have verified illnesses caused by their service at Ground Zero with the TWU 9/11 service medal. Last summer, ten New York City transit workers were recognized. A year later, three of them have succumbed to their illnesses, adding even more names to the list of the dozens of TWU member victims: James Delman, Louis Barberi and Peter Gibbons. According to online obituaries, Delman, a 28-year transit vet died on May 6 at the age of 64. Barberi died on Feb. 16 at the age of 66. Gibbons, an Army vet who fought in the Vietnam War, died on March 7 at the age of 71.
On Sept. 6, 2018, Local 100 President Tony Utano gave the union’s 9/11 service medal to CTA Gwendolyn Broughton, Structure Maintainer Dennis Buccello, Trackworker Dan Demody, Structure Maintainer Bobby Nash and Track Specialist Johnny Sparks. Each of them has had a claim for victim’s compensation because of an 9/11 illness accepted by the federal government. In addition, more than a dozen other workers received 9/11 recognition pins from the union. Recognition pins are given to those transit workers who participated in the rescue and recovery effort.
Today we honor our members who responded to this reprehensible attack on our country.