Friday, November 16, 2012

Sandy relief: Teamster help at every level, in every way

Local 862 brothers working the Jersey City warehouse last weekend.
Teamsters from locals 817, 202, 707, 814 and 445 are back at work today in the Red Cross's Jersey City warehouse as their brothers and sisters throughout the U.S. and Canada help put the region back on its feet.

With their logistics experience, the Teamsters in Jersey City are showing Red Cross volunteers how it's done. Last weekend they sent more than 100 trucks filled with clean-up kits to stricken communities throughout the area.

Teamsters everywhere are passing the hat, running food drives and making personal donations to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. They're volunteering at churches, warehouses and emergency shelters. They're driving 18-wheelers and box trucks, buses and minivans and forklifts, all part of the effort to get relief supplies to communities still in desperate need. Some Teamsters are working twice as hard at their jobs, repairing damage to everything from public housing to railroad tracks.

Sanitation workers from Teamsters Local 831 are still moving debris, having already hauled 220,000 tons since Superstorm Sandy hit. The Army Corps of Engineers has been called in to help. Last night, President Obama visited Staten Island and praised the sanitation workers for their hard work, calling them "heroic." Here's what he said:
The Fresh Kills land fill on Staten Island.
...what we’ve seen is cooperation and a spirit of service.  And for the first responders who are here, the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS folks, the sanitation workers who sometimes don’t get credit but have done heroic work, we are so grateful to you because you exemplify what America is all about.
The president also visited with our Teamster Brother Damian Moore and his wife Glenda. They lost their two small boys in the hurricane.

Our brothers and sisters at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen in New Jersey are coordinating a food drive this weekend to help Joint Council 73's food bank and Sandy relief effort.

A list of Teamster parents who suffered serious losses is being put together by Brother Matt Kronyak, chairman of the BLET New Jersey State Legislative Board, and Joint Council 73 President Al Rispoli. They'll use the list to make sure the children on it have a happy holiday. (Find out how to donate here.)

Canadian Teamsters contributed $51,000 to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. Participating in the effort were Joint Councils 36, 52, 90 and 91, the Rail Conferences and Teamsters Canada.

One of our members from Local 707 UPS Freight, Brother Kurt Kronemberg, has been helping with the Occupy Sandy relief effort. He drove his own minivan to St. Luke's Church in Brooklyn, packed it full of food and drove it to the Rockaways. On Sunday, he'll be back delivering supplies to that devastated community. Kronemberg told us,
I gotta help. It could be me.
Brother Roy Gillespie, Teamster human rights commissioner and member of Joint Council 13, is working long hours in Washington, D.C. at the Red Cross/FEMA Disaster Center. He's coordinating the relief effort alongside the Army, the Red Cross and other  government agencies.

General Timothy McKeithen, Roy Gillespie, and Andy Titsworth