Diary

Will NYC's Building Trade Unions Work on 9/11 Mosque? Don't Hold Your Breath.

Knowing some of the Ground Zero workers and the patriotism they have, particularly regarding the 9/11 attacks, we have been curious as to whether they would actually work on the Ground Zero Mosque at all. Now, it appears, that there is a growing movement that indicates getting the building trades of NYC to work on a mosque that is so close to Ground Zero may be difficult.

A growing number of New York construction workers are vowing not to work on the mosque planned near Ground Zero.

“It’s a very touchy thing because they want to do this on sacred ground,” said Dave Kaiser, 38, a blaster who is working to rebuild the World Trade Center site.

“I wouldn’t work there, especially after I found out about what the imam said about U.S. policy being responsible for 9/11,” Kaiser said.

The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet. One construction worker created the “Hard Hat Pledge” on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays on Park Place.

“Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,” said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn. “People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.”

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,” he said. “I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.”

A planned 13-story community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, Park51 has exploded into a national debate.

Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said unions have not yet taken a “formal position” on Park51, but he understands why members would be hesitant to work there.

It’s a very difficult dilemma for the contractors and the organized labor force because we are experiencing such high levels of unemployment,” he said. “Yet at the same time, this is a very sacred sight to the union guys.”

“There were construction workers killed on 9/11 and many more who got horribly sick cleaning up Ground Zero,” Coletti said. “It’s very emotional.”

L.V. Spina, a Manhattan construction worker who created anti-mosque stickers that some workers are slapping on their hardhats, said he would “rather pick cans and bottles out of trash cans” than build the Islamic center near Ground Zero.

“But if they moved it somewhere else, we would put up a prime building for these people,” he said. “Hell, you could do it next to my house in Rockaway Beach, I would be fine with it. But I’m not fine with it where blood has been spilled.”

And, were the Muslim builders try to build the mosque non-union in New York City?…That would be a true holy war.

Maybe it’s time to pick another spot.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”  Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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