Newark, N.J, – The AFL-CIO, the CWA Association of Flight Attendants and United Airlines have teamed up to fly hundreds of first responders and skilled volunteers—including nurses, doctors, electricians, engineers, carpenters and truck drivers—to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts. Many union sponsored airlifts are responding to the urgent need to get highly skilled workers to Puerto Rico. While in Puerto Rico, workers will coordinate with the Puerto Rico Federation of Labor and the city of San Juan on various initiatives: clearing road blockages, caring for hospital patients, delivering emergency supplies, and restoring power and communications.
With the situation desperate, United Airlines is working closely with AFL-CIO operations in several states, in an effort to airlift as many volunteers as possible to Puerto Rico. The need for highly skilled workers to assist on the island is critical. In addition to hundreds of volunteers, emergency relief supplies as food, water and essential equipment is being airlifted daily.
“The working families of Puerto Rico are our brothers and sisters. And this incredible partnership will bring skilled workers to the front lines to deliver supplies, care for victims and rebuild Puerto Rico,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our movement is at its best when we work together during times of great need. But we are even better when we find common ground and partner with business and industry on solutions to lift up our communities. This endeavor is entirely about working people helping working people in every way possible. In times of great tragedy, our country comes together, and we are committed to doing our part to assist the people of Puerto Rico.”
“When our union sisters and brothers see a need in our national or international community, we don’t ask if we should act, we ask how,” said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. “Today is the result of our collective strength, compassion and commitment to action. I am proud United responded to the call to carry a union of relief workers among America’s working families to care for our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico. We are united in lifting up our fellow Americans. It is an honor to serve on the volunteer crew of Flight Attendants and Pilots transporting skilled relief workers and returning to New York with hundreds needing safe passage out of Puerto Rico.”