New York Passes Law to Protect Health of 9/11 Workers

In June, the New York State Assembly and Senate unanimously passed the 9/11 Notice Act to support the forgotten victims of 9/11. Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to sign it into law before year-end.

The bill aims to ensure that individuals who were in the Lower Manhattan and northern Brooklyn exposure zones between September 2001 and the end of May 2002 are made aware by employers of their rights to register for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program, which provide monitoring and treatment for eligible individuals with WTC-related illnesses.

UWUA Local 1-2 and other unions had advocated for the act through several legislative sessions before achieving passage this year. James Shillitto, Local 1-2 president, said it is needed because not all employers are forthcoming about sharing this critical information with their workers.

In his testimony to the legislature, Shillitto shared, “Con Edison workers were there every day in the immediate days following 9/11, setting up generators to power the financial markets, laying cable, restoring natural gas and steam systems and supporting law enforcement and rescue efforts. The toxic exposure from this disaster was unprecedented. As one who spent six weeks working at Ground Zero, I personally can attest to the importance of this bill and the difference it can make in a person’s life.”