The wake of destruction left from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is unimaginable. TWU members and retirees are not only facing the struggle of rebuilding homes and replacing belongings, but daily survival items such as food, water, medical supplies, and electricity are scarce.
At the Transport Workers Union's 25th Convention, delegates unanimously approved a resolution, proposed by the IAC, to aid the victims of disaster. While the TWU previously set up a “Go Fund Me“ website and disaster relief account which locals contributed to generously, many felt there was more to be done. And after hearing about the life and death circumstances that existed for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, locals from every division stepped up and pledged whatever their local could afford to help their union families. Together, we raised more than $100,000 for this effort. As International Vice President and Local 234 President Willie Brown said, “After witnessing these acts of kindness and unity, I'm not afraid to take on any fight."
It's clear from this effort that the new TWU leadership is committed to doing, not just talking.
Immediately after the convention concluded, International President John Samuelsen -- along with leadership and members from locals 234, 229, 504, 501, and the TWU Veterans Committee -- rounded up and shipped more than $40,000 worth of additional goods to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico.
Together, we sent shelf stable food, sanitary supplies, batteries, and hygiene items to TWU members on the island. President Samuelsen said he tried to decide what his family would need if they were stuck in dire conditions, and go from there. The team ended up having so many supplies, they had to contact American Airlines to get an additional passenger van – on top of the 20 foot U-Haul truck they had already filled.
The supplies are rolling in now, where they’ll be set aside by the Local 501 and Veterans Committee members on the ground, and shared with TWU members and retirees at the airport.