25 W. 43rd Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY
Kevin Harrington, Vice President of Rapid Transit Operations, TWU Local 100 Nastaran Mohit, OccupySandy/YANA medical clinic Rockaway Representative, New York State Nurses Association
Hurricane Sandy wrecked great swaths of public infrastructure in New York and New Jersey. The loss of transport, power, and phone service and the closure of hospitals and schools shut down the entire greater New York metropolitan area. People in some neighborhoods lost their homes, their communities and even their lives. The devastating effects of the storm revealed to us all the vital role of the city’s union workforce: from nurses who safely evacuated hospitals to the transit workers that brought most of the subway lines back to life almost immediately after they were flooded, to the police and firefighters who worked around the clock to assist those in need. Alongside the trauma, we also saw a tremendous manifestation of solidarity as working people reached out to help one another.
More than two weeks later, many people in the affected areas remain displaced– while planners and developers are already discussing whether or not to rebuild their homes. It is crucial that as we begin to work seriously towards rebuilding our communities, we don’t allow the city’s elites to use the disaster as an opportunity to gentrify, further displace and disenfranchise the poor, or to privatize our valuable public services. While the storm has exposed the rampant inequalities in the city, it has also given us an opportunity to find new ways of working together.
We hope you will join us in opening up a discussion of vital importance to labor and its allies–not only in New York but in cities across the country.
The forum is co-sponsored by the Murphy Institute/CUNY and the Labor Outreach Committee of Occupy Wall Street.