Film Documents Public Workers’ Role in WTC Cleanup

Members of Local 375 with current and former Department of Design and Construction Commissioners at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.


When terrorists struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, New York City — and the world — irrevocably changed.

The attack in New York left nearly 3,000 dead and thousands more injured. Parts of the immediate downtown area and vital infrastructure were destroyed after both towers collapsed.

The cleanup began immediately.

Hundreds of public sector workers, contractors, and first responders, including many from DC 37 locals, worked around the clock to complete the job. Initially predicted to take several years, workers cleared the World Trade Center site of 1.8 million tons of debris in just eight months.

Members from Local 375 in the City’s Department of Design and Construction played a leading role in the cleanup effort. Though the agency was created only five years before 9/11, its workers took charge of what seemed impossible.

Their heroic efforts are highlighted in the film “NYC DDC 9/11,” which documents the work as it progressed, interspersed with poignant interviews with Local 375 and managers involved in the project.

The film received a special showing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan on May 1. Many workers involved in the cleanup operation attended, along with Mayor Eric Adams, DDC Commissioner Thomas J. Foley, several former DDC Commissioners, and other City officials.

The film is available to watch for free on the PBS Channel 13 website until Sept. 2.

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