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The next time some no-nothing starts to mouth off to you about how union municipal workers are just welching off of the rest of us with their cush job and benefits, show them this:

As Sandy smashed us, bravery and dedication saved Staten Island Ferries

Most of you are probably familiar with the world famous Staten Island Ferry, many of you may have even ridden on it. In fact, The Staten Island Ferry is more than one ferry, it's actually a fleet of 8 ferries. These ships are an especially important life line for many Staten Islanders, in addition to being the icon that they are for those that don't live on the Island. Sandy posed an especially large threat to the fleet. In order to make sure that the ferries did not smash in to one and other, crash in to the docks or pilings or break from their moorings and float out to sea, 100 brave workers manned the ships in the storm, running the engines to make sure the boats stayed in place. In the worst case scenario, they were actually prepared to sail them out in to New York Harbor during the storm if they had broken free of their moorings. This would be a particularly risky and dangerous action to take, but these brave workers were prepared to do it, such as when the oldest boat in the fleet, the 47 year old John F. Kennedy, almost broke loose:

"If we had broken free," he said, "we would have been on top of the (ferryboat Sen. John J.) Marchi," which was tied up behind it.
But Covella had a plan in case those lines did fail -- he was prepared to take the Kennedy into the raging waters of the Upper New York Bay, which was otherwise closed to all ship traffic due to the high tide and enormous danger. "There's no way you would have been able to stay in one spot," if all lines broke, he said. "We were ready to go if that happened."
So, I ask: how many workers out there would be prepared to risk their lives for their city and their fellow citizens by sailing in to a storm the way these brave Union men and women did? Because of them, the fleet emerged virtually undamaged, preserving a vital transportation lifeline that was back up and running within a matter of days.

Originally posted to NorthBronxDem on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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