Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Construction Unions Rally At WTC Site

Members of the city's construction unions spent their lunch break today rallying at the World Trade Center site – hoping to break the stalemate between developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority. (Video)

Thousands of carpenters, iron workers and laborers were joined by elected officials and local residents in an effort to demonstrate they are ready to build two more office towers at the site.

Construction is already underway on the centerpiece of the site, One World Trade Center, as well as a memorial and transit hub. But work on the other planned towers has stalled.

"Let me finish by once again pleading with our partners on this job to sit in a room, lock the doors, don't eat, don't drink and come up with a solution that will benefit everybody," said Lou Coletti of the Building Trades Employers' Association.

"It is a disgrace that nine years after this attack we are still looking at a hole in the ground," exclaimed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "That we are still fighting this fight."

"All of us have let you down. We've let this city down. And we've let our country down," said Congressman Joseph Crowley. "And we've left a hole in the ground to remain as a monument to those who would destroy our country."

It's not only the workers and elected officials who are frustrated by the lack of progress, but also Lower Manhattan residents. Julie Menin, the president of Community Board 1, was on hand for the rally. She issued a statement earlier today saying the site continues to be a "hole in the heart of the community."

Silverstein wants the Port Authority to finance at least two of the three towers.

An arbitration panel set a deadline for Friday for an end to the fight between the two. If no solution is reached by that time, the panel could impose a solution of its own or give both sides some more time to sort the situation out.

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