Dear Sisters and Brothers:
All of us have been shocked and deeply saddened at the widespread devastation caused by first, Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico, and then by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.
In 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we started a Disaster Relief Fund to aid our members when large-scale disaster stuck. The generosity of USW members, locals and staff through contributions to the Fund has made a difference to thousands of our members and their families impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes and other large-scale disasters.
Sadly, there have been so many disasters that we no longer have sufficient funds available to assist all of our sisters and brothers impacted by Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy. Thousands of our members live and work in the areas most affected by these hurricanes. The impacted districts have been working tirelessly with local leadership to get assessments in those areas, but communication is still very difficult. We know that many of our members and their families have suffered significant damage as a result of these horrific storms. In addition, many of our members have been unable to work because their workplaces have also been impacted.
In the short term our members’ needs are temporary shelter, food, water, medical supplies and other things only they can know. Those needs are being addressed in some respect through emergency assistance in their areas. In the longer term they will need to repair or replace homes, furniture, appliances and personal items. Their needs are and will be enormous.
The Executive Board of the United Steelworkers is authorizing an initial contribution of $50,000, and the Steelworkers Humanity Fund in Canada has graciously contributed $25,000. That will make a total of $75,000 to help the USW Disaster Relief Fund begin the process of helping our sisters and brothers in need. But we need so much more!
We know that most of you and your locals will want to help. We also expect that many of your members will as well. While you are certainly free to contribute to the American Red Cross or other organizations of that type, we strongly urge you to make your contribution to the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization, our nonprofit charitable supporting organization. In turn, the monies contributed to the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization will be allocated to have maximum effect in providing assistance to our members and their families most harmed by these horrible disasters.
We ask you to consider having a gate collection or making a contribution from your local union, or both, to help our brothers and sisters in need. When you make out your check, please be sure to designate it for hurricane relief. Make checks payable to the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization and mail to:
Five Gateway Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Locals that are geographically close may also want to assist making available much needed equipment, building supplies and labor. This is a terrible tragedy, but tragedies bring out the best in human nature and most especially in the hearts of trade unionists. Think of the plight of your brothers and sisters and please give generously.
Leo W. Gerard
Vice President (Administration)
Vice President (Human Affairs)
National Director for Canada
International Vice President at Large
International Vice President
International Vice President