Utility workers were among the essential workers who were honored Thursday in New York City for helping the city endure through the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A handful of workers stood across the street from City Hall as Mayor Eric Adams and other officials unveiled a plaque to honor them.
The plaque, which reads “July 7, 2021, New York City’s Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” honors the New Yorkers who reported for duty in person, even as the coronavirus was spreading virtually unchecked through the city.
“Our utility workers, our emergency personnel, our grocery and pharmacy workers, our sanitation and police officers and firefighters, the men and women who kept our subways and our buses running, we will never take you for granted,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance.
“You deliver our mail and our babies in the face of fear and courage. That's why we celebrated you with that parade on that lovely July day as we have celebrated others for a hundred years here in Lower Manhattan. This is the neighborhood where our city, where our country began, and we are going to continue to survive, to thrive and to grow because of all of you.”
Con Edison, which powers New York City and Westchester, N.Y., was mentioned specifically during the ceremony, as the plaque became one of more than 200 markers on the Broadway sidewalk in Lower Manhattan.
“I just want to say it’s a privilege and an honor to represent the unsung essential heroes of Con Edison who kept the electricity going and the ventilators going and the lights on throughout the pandemic,” said nurse practitioner Maureen Kreider, who was representing Con Edison.
Across the nation, as many as 75,000 linemen had to adhere to new social distancing and sanitation protocols in 2020 while weathering “the invisible storm” of the pandemic.
Instead of working closely together in large crews, they had to work alone or in pairs. Travel plans were put on hold, and many in-person training and educational events were postponed to 2021.
On July 10, 2020 the Edison Electric Institute, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association and the Utility Workers Union of America joined forces to celebrate the men and women in the line trade amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“The nation’s lineworkers are the face of America’s electric companies, and we are grateful to these highly skilled and dedicated men and women, and the families who support them, for the work they do each and every day to power our lives,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn at the time. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how indispensable electricity and the energy grid are in our society. Thanks to our nation's lineworkers, we are powering through this crisis together.”