Our History

Ironworker George Cleared Debris With Her Hands

Monday, October 22, 2001

An ironworker was called on by her union to help clear the site of the collapsed twin towers. She brought her own respirator and gas mask and dug for three days. "It could have been me," she says.

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"That organization worked with me, and I was the first one out of that class that got offered a job in 1985," she says proudly. She was enlisted as a welding apprentice and received her license after she began working with the union.

Soon she was working all over the city in a wide variety of jobs. She loves working construction--the rough and tumble of iron working--and chafes at being assigned to her current duties, acting as clerk for the work crews.

"I'd rather be out in the field working than in here in the office. ... You work where you are needed," George sighs. "I love the men who work in construction and iron work, and I love to take my grandchildren with me to the site," she says.

George says safety concerns in the union and among workers are suddenly becoming bigger issues. "Everyone tries to be more careful, more watchful," she says. "We're all being more cautious on site. The situation really changed the world we live in."


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Maya Dollarhide is a free-lance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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