HEU extends sympathy and solidarity to New York health care workers

HEU president Fred Muzin has sent a letter on behalf of all HEU members, offering solidarity and condolences to our Service Employees International Union brothers and sisters in New York in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy in that city.

SEIU Local 1199NY is the largest health care union in New York, representing 220,000 workers. Their members, along with countless other health care workers, have been involved helping to save lives, mend bodies and comfort the survivors.

Local 1199NY has reported that two emergency medical technicians are unaccounted for, and one is confirmed missing.

Many of members of other SEIU locals in New York, janitors, day porters and security personnel who worked at the World Trade Center, are unaccounted for. SEIU Local 82 members who work in the Pentagon are all safe and sound, but disabled workers who work alongside them have not been found.

The Public Employees Federation reported that 300 of their members worked at the World Trade Center. PEF is working with the state to account for their members, and have serious concerns for the fate of 40 of them who worked on the 82nd through 87th floors of the towers.

SEIU Local 1199NY president Dennis Rivera, in a letter posted on their website, asks his members not to surrender to hate and intolerance. “At such a time, it is easy to give in to feelings of anger, fear and hatred. It is our fervent wish that, instead, this tragedy helps to change our hearts, and to make us more understanding, accepting and loving of our neighbors and of our common human family.”

Muzin echos those thoughts. “This situation calls for true strength and purpose,” he says. “Violence will only beget violence. We must not set aside our fight for social justice and peace. It is the only way to confront this unbelievable tragedy.”

CUPE National president Judy Darcy also expressed shock at the horrendous attack on innocent people. “We thought of all the flight attendants, pilots and passengers on those airplanes. We thought of all the public sector workers like ourselves. We thought of the amazing courage of the rescue workers, particularly those who lost their own lives trying to save others.”

Click here for SEIU 1199NY president Dennis Rivera's message to his members and survivors' stories: www.1199seiuonline.org