Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pleas for help from Sandy victims: 'Bring shovels, gloves and give us a hand'

Homes destroyed in New Jersey.
Teamster locals in New York and New Jersey are trying to reopen their offices and organize relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims, including Teamsters who lost their homes and all their possessions. Teamster sanitation, DPW and Red Cross workers are putting in long hours as others pitch in on their own.

Tom Petillo, president of Teamsters Local 125 in Trenton, N.J., writes,
... members of our Local have lost everything. Our hearts and prayers go out to them in their time of need.  So how can you help, you can make a donation to the Red Cross by texting "redcross" to 90999 and you will make a $10 donation. 
Petillo is working with the IBT, Joint Council 73 and other New Jersey unions to coordinate rescue and relief efforts. He asks members to donate food, water and clothing. And, he writes:
Our Sanitation Companies have already begun the monumental  task of the massive clean up efforts.  Our DPW's and first responders have worked diligently from the onset of the storm.   Our hats are off to them.
The Los Angeles Times gives us an idea what it's like for a sanitation worker in New York City (represented by Teamsters Local 831):
City workers like Nick Lombardo have been pulling 16-hour shifts since the storm to bring basic services back to the hardest-hit parts of New York’s five boroughs. It’s slow going. Down the block from the fire hydrant, Lombardo was working to drain a 30-foot-deep pool of sewage and sea water out of the tower block's main sewage station. 
Electricians were in the pit below, hot wiring the sewage pumps to a diesel generator. 
“They'll have working sewage tonight,” Lombardo, a New York City sanitation worker, said Saturday. Below a grate was waste water. The smell doesn't bother him any more. “I could stand over this grate and eat a sandwich,” he said.
Brother Kevin Murph, a member of Teamsters Local 812, grew up in hard-hit Rockaway, Queens. He posted this request on the Teamsters Facebook page:
Hello Brothers and Sisters my name is Kevin I am a local 812 member. I live in long beach grew up in Rockaway. We need help not money we need able hard working bodies. Just come to breezy Rockaway. Bring shovels gloves and gives us a hand. Dont matter which block just walk up and help I am on 131 street. I seen every other union down there lets show that Teamsters care to. An for my union brothers and sister there Thank you. One thing every body is looking for Heavy machinery please send me contacts for any companies that have and can help 
Many Teamsters locals in the Northeast closed due to damage from Sandy. Teamsters Local 237 in Lower Manhattan will open Monday. Phone lines and power have been restored. An emergency food and supplies drive is being held today for members and people on the South Shore of Long Island, which was devastated by the storm.
Teamsters Local 177 in Hillside, N.J., is making available applications for disaster in the union hall.

Brother Kevin Duval, a sanitation worker with Teamsters Local 831, asks for any kind of donation:
DSNY has been out there around the clock. People who have experienced flooding are putting out all their destroyed furniture, walls, carpet, clothes, appliances, etc for us to collect. It's bad, really bad. People have lost everything, living without power and hot water. Any type of donations to help the NY/NJ region would go a long way to help
A good way to help is to make a monetary contribution to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. Find out how to donate (you can even donate online) here.