In a spirit of true solidarity, trade union locals and other organized labor groups from around the country are raising funds and collecting donations for families affected by the May 20 Tornadoes. Among the many efforts underway, here are a few examples of labor in action:
Oklahoma City IBEW local 1141 established a relief fund, and are collecting supplies to be donated to the relief effort.
On May 29th, the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation mobilized dozens of volunteers for cleaning up debris .
When Jim Pulley, a UAW member in Spring Hill, Tenn., saw the devastation caused by the tornadoes that hit Moore, Okla., he jumped into action and set up collection boxes at all of the General Motors Co. (GM) plant entrances in his hometown, resulting in three semi-trailer truckloads of supplies headed to help the tornado survivors.
Teamsters provided volunteers for driving forklifts to haul and manage the rapidly accumulating supplies donated to the Red Cross. Local 523 also set up trailers to collect member’s donations of food and supplies.
International Association of Fire Fighters Communications Director Tim Burn said first responders, including those from his union, are busy helping their neighbors in digging out and reassembling their lives after the May 20 tornadoes. But some 30 IAFF members are victims, too, he said. "Some 1,700 IAFF members are located in the path of the massive tornadoes that devastated Moore, Okla., and a number of other Oklahoma cities, as well as communities in Kansas. The international has begun damage assessments, and the need for relief to IAFF members affected by the storm is critical," he said.
The United Food and Commercial Workers and the National Association of Letter Carriers said members in Moore lost homes, goods and cars. UFCW said checks should go to Local 1000's regional headquarters in Grapevine, Texas. NALC President Fredric Rolando said his union's members should funnel contributions to Branch 458 through the union's Postal Employees Relief Fund. "When a storm like this hits, we must match its ferocity with our own generosity to help our brothers, sisters and co-workers rebuild after this tragedy," Rolando said.
These are just a few examples of the combined efforts of union brothers and sisters working together to help Oklahoma in its time of need. To find out more about what you can do to help, contact the Oklahoma State AFL-CIO at 405-528-2409 for more information.