(from SEIU/1199 News October 2001, online version: http://www.1199seiu.org/articles/article.cfm?ID=3966)


SEIU Grieves for Lost Members

dm sullins1199 EMT among missing in WTC disaster.

Fallen Hero: Cabrini EMT David Marc Sullins (shown left) was helping injured victims when he was lost in the collapse of WTC Two.

Some 64 SEIU members are among the lost and missing in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

In a statement issued Sept. 18, SEIU Pres. Andrew Stern said, "Our union family, our brothers and sisters, now join hands with the brothers and sisters, partners and spouses, parents and children of those missing members in hopes of easing their pain and aiding them throughout this tragedy."

SEIU's Professional Employees Federation (PEF) Local 4053 sustained the heaviest losses, with 33 workers from New York State's Tax and Finance Department and three workers from the Department of Transportation (DOT) among the missing. Tax and Finance and the DOT were located on the 82nd though 87th floors of both buildings.

More than 1,000 members of SEIU Local 32BJ worked as security personnel, cleaners and tour guides at the World Trade Center. Among the confirmed dead or unaccounted for are 26 members of the local. Additionally some 2,000 32BJ members are out of work as a result of the disaster.

From 1199, Cabrini Medical Center EMT David Marc Sullins, 30, remains missing. Sullins, the father of sons Cristian, 18 months, and Julian, four, had finished his shift when the call came in about the disaster. Sullins was last seen treating someone inside Tower Two just before it collapsed, says his wife Evelyn.

"When it comes to his job he's very gung-ho," says Sullins of her husband. "He has no fear."

Cabrini EMT Allison Goya, Sullins' partner, was with him on the day of the attack. She said that though he is no longer with his friends and family physically, his spirit flourishes.

"It is Marc's spirit that is keeping us going," Goya told 1199ers gathered at Harlem's Apollo Theater for a Sept. 20 delegate assembly. "He gives us the courage to go on even when we want to shut down."

And Christoffer Carstanjen, a member of Massachusetts' SEIU Local 509 was among the 92 passengers and crew on American Airlines Flight 11 when it was hijacked and crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Carstanjen, 33, worked as a computer research specialist in the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Office of Information Technologies.

Also among the confirmed missing are many friends and family of 1199 members and staff. Roberto Ramirez is a patient financial representative at Beth Israel Medical Center. His wife Linda was lost in the attack. 1199 VP Phyllis Mushkin of Health Systems II lost her nephew, Eric Adam Stahlman, in the disaster. Stahlman, 43, worked at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of Tower One. His wife and two children survive him.


Enormous Toll on Working Families

More than 1,000 unionists worked in the World Trade Center buildings that were struck by terrorists on Sept. 11. Hundreds died or are reported missing.

In addition to the SEIU members mentioned on this page, unions with missing members are: The International Association of Fire Fighters, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, Police Benevolent Association, Communication Workers of America, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Civil Service Employees Association, American Federation of Teachers, International Longshoremen's Association, International Association of Machinists, Office and Professional Employees, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, American Postal Workers Union, New York City District Council of Carpenters.

As the city attempts to rebuild and heal, workers must confront other obstacles. Estimates suggest that 100,000 workers in lower Manhattan will lose their jobs as a result of the assaults. Within one week of the attacks, the airline industry laid off 100,000 workers. Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) President John Wilhelm said last month that up to half of his union's 265,000 members could face layoffs.

At press time, the hotel industry was calling for a relief package similar to the $15 billion bailout the federal government is providing the airline industry. The airline package does not provide relief for airline workers who have lost their jobs.

"Members of Congress appear poised to stiff airline industry workers in the bailout bill -- even as they award protections to airline executives for their golden parachutes," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney last month.