9/11 Benefits Expanded To Civilian Workers After Mayor Makes Deal With Union

October 23, 2018 - 3:00 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some civilian workers sickened by the toxic dust at Ground Zero will now get the same 9/11 benefits as police and firefighters after City Hall hashed out a deal with the city’s largest municipal union.

As city employees with 9/11-related illnesses gathered outside City Hall for a press conference Tuesday, they got word that Mayor Bill de Blasio had just struck a deal providing unlimited sick leave for members of the union DC37.

Critics have been slamming the mayor for insisting that each individual city union negotiate sick leave. They say the city workers breathed in the same toxic dust as members of the FDNY and NYPD, who are already eligible for unlimited sick time.

Attorney Michael Barasch, whose firm represents 11,000 with sicknesses attributed to the toxic dust at Ground Zero, says it’s a big step.

“I commend the mayor, but it’s a shame that they forced all these people to the press conference today who are sick, who have cancer,” he said.  

Barasch said many of his clients are forced to go to work sick, in many cases against their doctor’s orders.

While DC37 reached a deal with the city, a dozen other unions are still negotiating. City Hall has said it wants to wait for collective bargaining with each respective union before offering any extended benefits for civilian employees with an illness, like the unlimited paid sick time that members of the NYPD and FDNY receive.

State employees with 9/11-related illnesses were granted unlimited sick time last year under a bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.