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WTC work stoppage imperils rebuilding

RJ Michelson/amNY

RJ Michelson/amNY Credit: RJ Michelson/amNY

Scores of World Trade Center cement workers stayed off the job for a second day in a contract dispute that is threatening to slow the massive rebuilding project.

Dozens of workers, represented by the Cement and Concrete Workers Union, camped out near the site Tuesday, vowing not to return until they had a new contract that protected their salaries. They have been without a contract for more than a month.

“It’s a money issue. ... We’ve got to make a decent salary,” said shop steward Willie O’Keefe, who works on One World Trade Center — which, at 76 of its planned 104 stories, is already the tallest building in lower Manhattan.

“We’re not going back until it’s resolved,” he said of the estimated 300 disgruntled workers.

The union and the Cement League, which represents managers, met yesterday to discuss the contract but were tight-lipped about progress.

“Things are where they were yesterday,” said Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents contractors including the Cement League.

Neither the union nor the Cement League would comment.

Coletti said that since the cement workers were not working, 650 other employees were laid off for a second day.

Although the Port Authority repeated that the strike had “no impact on completion dates” and “minimal impact” on the transit hub and One WTC, concrete workers said other work would soon stop if they didn’t return.

“If you don’t have us, you have nothing to work on,” said Austin Nolan, 45, who is assigned to the transit hub. 

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