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Oral history interview with Lawrence (Larry) Keating, 2003

Creator: Keating, Lawrence
Project: Biographical interview
Phys. Desc. :transcript: 86 pages sound recording: 3 minidisks
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Scope and Contents

Born in the Bronx, NY, on October 2nd, 1952 at Westchester Square Hospital; early life: grew up in Bronx-projects off of Gun Hill Road, recalling pleasant memories of childhood, moved to Rockland County at age six-Catholic School for seven years, public high school, growing up during the sixties-Vietnam, moved to Boulder, Colorado at nineteen; career: working in oil fields in Gillette, Wyoming-derrick hand-oil rigs, bringing unions into the factory in Colorado-Amalgamated Clothing Workers from Chicago-violence on picket line, NY ironworker-working in Members Assistance office; family: married, two step-children, one child with wife; ironworker experiences: first day of work-AT&T building-connecting iron, union fight on Tappan Zee Bridge-confronting Mario Cuomo on Phil Donahue Show, Local 40, strong sense of camaraderie, witnessing injury, learning from experience, witnessing creation of new guidelines for erection of steel-Occupational Safety and Health Administration-focus on safety; benefits of union: graduated scale of benefits, retirement at full pension, voice for ironworkers; 9/11: working on Hudson St., hearing crash, seeing hole in North Tower, suspecting terrorism, witnessing man jumping, reminiscence of George Washington Bridge shut down; post 9/11: WTC site-Ironworker-foreman, wife volunteering with Red Cross, visiting Washington in support of Hillary Clinton's $90 million bill for WTC site workers; WTC work site: initial pandemonium on work site, beginning with ineffective tools-cherry picker, burning steel, burning of Liberty St., descriptions of locating bodies, lack of organization, organization of volunteers by Local 40, volunteer time turning into paid time, clearing Vista Hotel and South Tower, honoring the dead, appreciation for ironworkers, renewed faith in religion, ceremony on last day of work-ironworkers taking down last column, volunteers providing dry socks and food, recalling pleasant work memories, fear of collapse of surrounding buildings, working seven days a week-twelve hour days, future health risks-lung disease, volunteers from around the country, advocating reconstruction of towers, bringing family members to site, pro-war sentiment among ironworkers; media attention: Paula Zahn and Governor Pataki visiting site, interviewed by NY Times, interviewed by Dan Rather, creation of new and respectful image of ironworkers, ironworker annoyance with misquotations in newspaper; Cornell University/ Red Cross therapy workshops-Project Liberty: planning workshops, information on post traumatic stress disorder, forum for discussion-talking with other ironworkers.

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Copyright by The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2016.

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