Tesla succeeds where Trump flails, brings power to Puerto Rico with solar panels

Joe Romm ThinkProgress

Five weeks after hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump’s team has only managed to restore power for a mere 26 percent of the island’s 3.5 million U.S. citizens.

Meanwhile the tiny Trump-linked energy contractor that won a $300-million no-bid contract to rebuild the grid, Whitefish Energy, is also under fire.

One businessman, however, has already started to deliver on his promise to help Puerto. Elon Musk has used Tesla’s solar panels and battery storage to turn the power back on San Juan’s Children’s Hospital — and he did it free of charge.

San Juan’s Hospital del Nino serves some 3,000 children on the island, with three dozen critically ill patients who need around-the-clock care.

In a viral Instagram post, Musk explained, “Hospital del Niño (Children’s Hospital) is the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico. Glad to help support the recovery. Congrats to the Tesla team for working 24/7 to make this happen as fast as possible.”

Also on Twitter, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello offered his appreciation Wednesday for what Tesla accomplished in just a couple of weeks.

In sharp contrast, Whitefish Energy, an unproven Montana-based firm with two full-time employees that was mysteriously awarded a massive contract to rebuild the grid, has been engaging in a bizarre Twitter war with San Juan’s mayor, even threatening to pull its subcontractors out of the island. Congressional lawmakers and the Puerto Rican governor have already called for an investigation into Whitefish and the award of its contract.

Overall, the Trump administration-led response to the disaster has been, well, a disaster. Headlines from just the last couple of days include, “Puerto Ricans at Risk of Waterborne Disease Outbreaks in Wake of Hurricane Maria” (NBC), “The Struggle for Stability in Puerto Rico,” (WNYC), and “‘Like Going Back in Time’: Puerto Ricans Put Survival Skills to Use,” (New York Times).

Until power is restored, Puerto Rico’s problems will only get worse. It’s time to give the entire grid rebuild job to the company with a track record of success and the only technology that can restore the grid quickly, cheaply and cleanly–Tesla.

***

Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work