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Barasch & McGarry Celebrates Labor Day

September 4, 2023 | Michael Barasch

This year, as we celebrate Labor Day Weekend, we should remember that the story of our community – the 9/11 community – has been defined by the contributions of labor unions and their members.

That community includes the first responders who arrived within seconds of the terrorist attacks, risking and tragically losing their lives to help thousands of people escape to safety.

In the weeks and months that followed, labor union members in every sector – from construction to transportation to education – played a crucial role in the reopening of Lower Manhattan and the start of New York City’s recovery.

Told the air near Ground Zero was safe to breathe, these workers were actually exposed to toxins that dramatically increase the risk of 69 different types of cancer and many severe respiratory illnesses. We now know the air was not safe to breathe.

As responders and survivors who were there developed 9/11-related illnesses, union leadership and members advocated tirelessly for the entire community, resulting in the enactment of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

Through the health program, 9/11 responders and survivors have access to free, comprehensive medical care for the 9/11-related illnesses. 

The victim fund awards tax-free payments for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.

If you were there, you have the right to register with the 9/11 VCF – even if you are currently healthy – and enroll in the WTC Health Program if you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness.

For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone includes all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, which represents more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community, has proudly advocated for union members for more than twenty-five years.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, you should know your health status.

Protect yourself and your family. An early diagnosis could save your life.

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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