New York Unions Send Workers, Thousands in Donations to Aid Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico

NY Daily News - September 30, 2017

by GINGER ADAMS OTIS, JASON SILVERSTEIN, JAMES FANELLI

TRENDING: HUGH HEFNER NFL PUERTO RICO TOM PRICE JARED KUSHNER New York Daily News NEW YORK Facebook Twitter Instagram SUBSCRIBE SECTIONS SHARE THIS Tweet email NEXT ARTICLE Teen accused of shooting Yonkers cop arraigned at hospital New York unions send workers, thousands in donations to aid hurricane victims in Puerto Rico Tweet email FBMD01000a9f0d000044a000007a5701001f6301005a73010066ec0100101e03008d42030006560300356d0300e6ec0500 Eight members of Construction and General Building Laborers‘ Local 79, which sent eight workers to help repair Puerto Rico after two major hurricanes. (JEREMY DELGADO) BY GINGER ADAMS OTIS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, September 29, 2017, 8:03 PM New York unions have pulled together a variety of aid to send to Puerto Rico in the wake of two Category 4 hurricanes that left the island without power.

While 27 members of the FDNY and NYPD flew to Puerto Rico for search and rescue work, other unions sent down drivers, engineers, electricians and more.

Construction and General Building Laborers’ Local 79 — which already has members in Houston repairing that city from Hurricane Harvey — has also sent 8 workers to Puerto Rico.

At the national convention for the Transport Workers Union in Las Vegas, representatives from around the country stepped forward to pledge financial support.

At a rough count TWU collected $125,000 in pledges from 40 locals in less than an hour.

Local 234, representing bus and subway workers in Philadelphia, pledged $5,000.

Local 568, representing airlines workers in Miami, pledged $10,000. And Local 100, comprised of bus and subway workers in the city and Westchester, pledged more than $20,000.

While those pledges were being made, a long line of delegates representing workers from across the country made their way up to a box placed at the stage — into which they gave individual donations totaling another $9,000.

One delegate on the floor said: “This is what being American looks like.”

Fidel Minor, vice president of Local 260, representing bus and rail workers in Houston, Texas, pledged $1,000 on behalf of his Local.

"Don't hold back because we are our brothers' keeper," Minor said.

His neighborhood was destroyed by Harvey, he said.

Many delegates spoke of friends or relatives being impacted by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, including a few relatives who died.

Even before this outpouring of support, TWU had shown its big heart.

It established a relief fund which has accumulated $150,000 including a Go Fund Me page for hurricane victim relief on Aug. 30, days after Harvey hit Texas, where TWU Locals and workers have donated $112,000.

A union rep from England who spoke at the convention, Mick Cash, General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, also donated $5000 to the TWU relief fund.

"We may be separated by an ocean but we're not divided by it," Cash said.

Angelo Cucuzza head of Local 501, which reps American Airline workers in the city and Puerto Rico said he would ask the carrier for a special flight to carry donated supplies to the island.

But TWU was not the only union to pitch in.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, in coordination with New York’s Teamsters Joint Council 16 put out a call for volunteer truck drivers to go to Puerto Rico. They’re needed to help deliver supplies.

The New York State Nurses Association is pulling together a team of volunteer healthcare workers

The AFL-CIO is accepting donations to the Union Community Fund to help working families in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.