For many Americans, even remembering 9/11 is extremely painful, especially for those who lost their loved ones in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.
However, some are facing the repercussions of the event to this day. Bronx EMT Vanessa Rodriguez was one of the first responders on 9/11.
She spent well over a year collecting body parts and inhaling toxic dust at ground zero. This ultimately led to her being diagnosed with stage-three cancer several years down the line.
Unlimited sick leave isn’t as “unlimited” as it appears
20 years later and some 14 years after her diagnosis, Rodriguez is now facing termination from the FDNY.
She may be forced to apply for welfare now that it’s been found that Andrew Cuomo’s unlimited sick leave isn’t exactly what the politicians promised.
"What Toomey's amendment wants to do is make sure our sick & dying veterans have the pleasure our 9/11 first responders at Ground Zero had of having to come back to Washington, hat in hand, riddled w/cancer, & march through the halls of the hill begging pic.twitter.com/nQOB5f3DvT
— Wanda Greer-Ransom, BAS, MS (@wandaransom) August 1, 2022
Rodriguez isn’t the only first responder to be informed they’ll be fired for being on sick leave for over a year.
She’s joined by five others who risked their lives to save others on the day that shook America to its core.
Aside from being told they’re losing their jobs, many of these EMTs are still in the midst of their own legal battles with the city’s Employee Retirement System, due to not being able to obtain an early disability pension.
Despite their efforts, each and every one of their applications were denied, leaving these brave Americans in a limbo between sick leave and retirement that’ll take years, and for some, over a decade, to get out of.
200 service workers at risk of losing their jobs
The World Trade Center’s liaison Gary Smiley commented on the matter, wondering why the city of New York is going above and beyond to hurt these people more than they’ve already been hurt by the incident.
The 9/11 first responders gave everything to our city under the false promise that Ground Zero was safe. It is unconscionable that we wouldn’t do everything we can to help with the health effects of their service
The decision to deny sick-leave to any of these heroes is shameful https://t.co/KmPJkuB9VJ
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) July 31, 2022
Almost 200 EMS personnel that were present at the terrorist attacks on 9/11 are still working or are on temporary leave due to their own deteriorating health.
They could also find themselves on the chopping block in the near future.
This means upwards of 200 people could be put into a position where they won’t be able to provide for their families. They have no means to obtain a pension check, due to the bureaucratic chaos they have to go through to enter retirement.
The law signed by Andrew Cuomo originally promised unlimited sick leave to the first responders on 9/11.
However, a legal gray area caused by the state’s civil service law made it so agencies were still allowed to fire workers with job-related disabilities for over one year.
What it's like to be the FDNY's first woman and out gay EMS chief pic.twitter.com/nJXHMmzwl3
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) July 29, 2022
Unfortunately, the FDNY is adamant in its agenda.
The FDNY shifted the blame onto the NYCERS for denying these service workers their “three-quarters” early retirement plans, effectively doing nothing to solve the issue at hand, while also “absolving” themselves of any guilt.
This article appeared in The Record Daily and has been published here with permission.