On Oct. 2, Amtrak reported that four of its century-old underwater rail tunnels in and out of New York City are in need of extensive repairs and that service will be "badly curtailed"—terrible news for both daily commuters and passengers who take 260 million trips a year along the vital Northeast Corridor. While some may see this as a local issue, this transportation crisis could cripple a region that produces 20% of our GDP. More importantly, how elected leaders respond will say a lot about whether we have the will to fix highways and bridges, provide transit service, build runways and modernize seaports in communities across the country.
After Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, the United Steelworkers (USW) recognized a gap in the availability of Spanish-speaking Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outreach trainers in the two storm-ravaged states. USW obtained funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to launch a new program through their Tony Mazzocchi Center to remedy the problem.
A little more than a year ago, Superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast and in New York City the powerful storm flooded subway tunnels, ripped up tracks, knocked down train signals and shut down the city’s transit system.
But within hours, members of Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100—then eight months without contract—were on the job around the clock bringing the system back to life, pumping tunnels and getting the city's trains and buses back in service. But while the transit system is back in business—with a $1.9 billion cash windfall—Local 100 members are still without a contract.
The latest video from the Electrical Workers (IBEW) shows that skilled union workers were among the first on the scene when Superstorm Sandy hit, and they helped get power back to the families affected by the hurricane. The advertisement is airing in New York and New Jersey.
Georgia Power, one of the largest utilities companies in the South, took out a full-page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution honoring the contribution of Electrical Workers (IBEW) who jumped into action and helped out during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The rare instance of a corporation lauding union members in a major press outlet was a reaction to a resolution honoring the members of IBEW Local 84 that the state legislature passed at the request of the Georgia AFL-CIO.
As soon as the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that the U.S. Senate passed Monday night lands on President Obama’s desk, he says he will sign it. But he notes that legislation to help families and communities recover from the devastating November hurricane is long overdue.
For the families working to put their lives back together, every day without relief is one day too many.
The U.S. House on Tuesday night finally passed the major Hurricane Sandy relief bill to help hundreds of thousands of East Coast families and communities recover and rebuild from the massive November storm. But House Speaker John Boehner’s (R) nearly monthlong delay in holding the vote continues to stall the much-needed help as the out-of-session Senate will not be able to vote on the bill until next week.
While John Boehner and his allies in the U.S. House of Representatives play politics with aid to families whose lives were shattered by Superstorm Sandy, numerous unions have stepped up to provide money and supplies to those in need. Here are a few examples of how unions are helping families recover from the storm's devastation.
Yesterday, we told you House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke his promise to hold a vote on a desperately needed relief package for the victims and communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy more than two months after the storm. After a massive and angry outcry—especially from members of his own party who called his vote squelching a “cruel stab in the back”—Boehner announced he would bring a hurricane aid bill to the floor Friday.
But that patchwork package falls far short of the help Sandy’s victims need.