Streams

World Trade Center Workers to Return to Work After 3-Day Walk-Off

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Concrete truck making a delivery at the transit hub at the World Trade Center work site. Concrete truck making a delivery at the transit hub at the World Trade Center work site. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

All concrete workers at the World Trade Center site are expected to be back on the job Thursday, following three days off the job on what many called a "silent strike."

Concrete workers have been working without a contract since July 1, and while no deal has been reached between the unions and the contractors, the secretary treasurer of Local 18A Kieran O’Sullivan said all workers will be back on the job Thursday.

"Negotiations have gone well," O’Sullivan said, but there is no agreement.

O’Sullivan said contractors were looking for a 20 percent reduction in pay, and he expected there would be an agreement in the next two weeks.

Many carpenters, whose contracts are set to expire on Friday, joined the concrete workers in walk-offs.

It has only been three days since several hundred concrete workers stopped showing up for work, but local area businesses were already feeling the impact. Khalid Hedfei runs the halal food cart, WTC Squared, a regular stop for lunching workers. Hedfei said his profits have been down a quarter since Monday.

"Nobody's working so they don't sit down over there, they don't eat," he said, pointing to the shady park across from his truck. "They just drink, they're not working hard to eat, so we'll see when it's going back to normal."

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said the work stoppage hasn't effected work at 9/11 Memorial, the Transit Hub or 1 World Trade Center.

Ed Speiss, an Iron Worker who welds pieces of the transit hub, said he's hardly seen any slowdown since Monday. "You can't really tell how many guys are on a site from day to day, there's a lot of guys here, 3,500, so if you're missing 200-300, you don't really notice the difference," he said.

But like many workers, Speiss said the work on the site can only continue for a short time without the pouring of fresh concrete.

 

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