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5 Big Takeaways From Hurricane Sandy

The Frankenstorm shifted the national conversation on a number of pressing topics.

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But when disaster strikes, suddenly we desperately need them. The storm highlighted the critical role played by first responders, maintenance workers, educators, garbage collectors, healthcare professionals, police and myriad other public employees. During the storm and after, these workers, many of them union members, provided critical rescue and relief efforts, often mounting heroic efforts in dangerous conditions. Nurses and health aides represented by the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, an affiliate of the Federation of Nurses/UFT, for example, waded through floodwaters to reach homebound patients, walking up multiple flights of stairs in the darkness to help save lives.

Members of the International Association of Firefighters battled massive storm-related fires, sometimes standing in neck-deep water while doing so.

These people deserve more than our thanks. They deserve our support when greedy Wall Street profiteers and their political puppets seek to diminish their benefits and kill their ability to collectively bargain for fair compensation and decent working conditions.





Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.