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AFSCME Will Help Puerto Rico All the Way

Doing our part to provide vital relief and services over the long haul
Photo by Mark Cavanah
Previous AFSCME Retirees Never Quit!
By Pete Levine and Namita Waghray ·
Tags: Victories

AFSCME continues to provide assistance to residents of Puerto Rico, who remain in a state of misery weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled the commonwealth.

According to The New York Times, “83 percent of the island was still without power, 36 percent had no running water and 45 percent was without telecommunication services.” Some 40 percent of the island still lacks clean drinking water.

Puerto Rico: After the Storm

Which is why members of AFSCME Local 1550 and HOPE AFSCME Local 123 were proud to be part of a larger effort to send vital supplies to Puerto Rico.

Working with the Seafarers International Union, the Houston mayor’s office, and the AFL-CIO, members loaded much-needed water and other provisions aboard shipping containers bound for the storm-ravaged island. A cargo ship is delivering water, nonperishable food, toiletries, battery-powered electronics, mops, brooms and other items to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cynthia Cole, executive director of AFSCME Local 1550, said, “I can't imagine what our brothers and sisters are dealing with in Puerto Rico. AFSCME Local 1550 and all our union family want the people of Puerto Rico to know we will be with them until they recover.”

Early last week, six members from New York City-based AFSCME District Council 37 (DC 37) traveled to Puerto Rico to help residents rebuild their lives.

Home to 3.5 million U.S. citizens, Puerto Rico is in dire need of bottled water, food and other basic necessities.

The commonwealth also needs highly skilled workers to begin reconstruction and tend to those in need. The DC 37 members lent their expertise to help all residents get back on their feet, including thousands of working and retired AFSCME sisters and brothers represented by Servidores Públicos Unidos de Puerto Rico (SPUPR)/AFSCME Council 95.

Members of AFSCME Local 1550 and HOPE Local 123 join Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (with tie) on Thursday to load water and other necessities onto a cargo ship bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Richard Petit)

AFSCME is keeping its foot on the gas in its relief efforts for storm victims during this year’s uncommonly busy hurricane season.

Since late August, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, nearly 1,750 AFSCME members have contributed a total of nearly $90,000 to our union’s Fallen Heroes Fund to help sisters and brothers affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. AFSCME leaders, officers, locals and councils have kicked in tens of thousands of dollars on top of that.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump appears to be taking his foot off the gas in helping Puerto Rico.

In a callous, early morning tweet Thursday, Trump wrote: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

AFSCME responded directly to Trump on Twitter, writing, “Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, owed the same public services and disaster relief as any other citizen. Public service workers are heroes who will never quit on Puerto Rico. Fund relief efforts, let them do their jobs. Lives are on the line.”

AFSCME will continue to take direct action to help residents of Puerto Rico. You can too. Click here to contribute to the Fallen Heroes Fund and join the effort to rebuild the lives of people affected by the recent hurricanes.

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