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125 Years Strong – An IUOE History

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Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the International Union of Operating Engineers


INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS I.U.O.E. HEROES SHINED, PERISHED IN 9/11 ATTACKS “Among the countless heroes of September 11, 2001, were the operating engineers at the World Trade Center, the people responsible for the nuts and bolts of the center’s air-conditioning, electrical systems, heating and plumbing. Their jobs and their intimate knowledge of the buildings meant that they were among the first to respond when the first plane struck at 8:48 a.m. “Some of the 40 engineers on hand that day helped firefighters to attach hoses in the pump rooms. Others rushed to inspect mechanical systems or assist emergency medical teams. When the word came to evacuate the building, many helped to get people out.” New York Times, May 29, 2005 (On the occasion of the May 26 unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial Mural at I.U.O.E. Local No. 94 of New York City.) Members of the union’s National Hazmat Project Emergency Response Team, headquartered in Beckley, West Virginia, were on the scene two days after the attack and were critical to the safety and health of their fellow members working at Ground Zero, as well as workers from other crafts and agencies, firefighters and police officers. The hazmat team members set up a command post to help monitor the air quality and to distribute protective gear and respirators. After visiting and inspecting the World Trade Center site, General President Hanley sent an impassioned message to the entire membership in an article in the October-November 2001 International Operating Engineer: “To observe our members at work is mesmerizing. These operating engineers are doing this job because they have a genuine desire to help in any way they can, because they understand the loss and anguish suffered by so many in this tragedy. They are hardworking, selfless and dedicated people who are giving their skills to get a gruesome job done right because they care. They care deeply about the victims, many of whom were family members, close friends, union brothers and sisters.” Seven brave I.U.O.E. members lost their lives in the September 11, 2001, (9/11) terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City after terrorists flew commercial airplanes into the center’s two towers, causing them to collapse and taking the lives of 2,753 people, including these members: William Krukowski, Local No. 15 Fred Sheffold, Local No. 15 Vito DeLeo, Local No. 94 John Griffin Jr., Local No. 94 Charles Magee, Local No. 94 Dave Williams, Local No. 94 Vincent Danz, Local No. 138 International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, whose union lost 343 members during the attack, praised the I.U.O.E. in remarks to over 300 delegates attending the open session of the union’s General Executive Board meeting held November 9 and 10, 2001, saying “If it wasn't for I.U.O.E. members risking their lives in a treacherous, unstable site, the fire fighters could not have made the rescue and recovery efforts they did. It was your help, your caring that allowed us to bring many of our brothers home in a dignified way. … There are no greater group of heroes, no greater patriots than your members and all union members working there.” Shortly after the attack, each family of the seven I.U.O.E. victims was provided with generous donations from the union’s International Disaster Relief Fund to help them in their time of need. New York City’ Local No. 94 also commissioned artist Cliff Miller to create a mural to grace the outside wall of the local’s offices in Manhattan to memorialize the local’s four members who perished when trying to lead others to safety when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. The group portrait was unveiled during a ceremony on May 26, 2005. This mural, on display in a window of the I.U.O.E. Local No. 94 union hall in Manhattan in New York City, depicts members Brother John Griffin Jr., Brother Charles Magee, Brother Vito DeLeo and Brother David Williams, who were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. locals No. 14 and No. 15 ran the heavy equipment at the landfill site in Staten Island where the debris from Ground Zero was taken. The I.U.O.E.-operated equipment involved in the operation included some 20 cranes, one of which was a Manitowoc 21,000 with over 300 feet of boom and a lift capacity of 1,000 tons and another a Caterpillar 345 Ultra High excavator with an 80-foot-long reach and shears that could slice through steel beams. Union survey engineers helped guide the work, referring to the original blueprints from when the complex was constructed in the early 1970s to lessen the possibility of further catastrophes while the debris was being removed. I.U.O.E. members and international officers on site to clean up the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. LABOR OMNIA VINCIT WORK CONQUERS ALL

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