Today, we are proud to announce that four of our Utility Worker brothers out of UWUA Locals 423, 395 and 391 in New Jersey, are joining more than 300 working men and women who volunteered to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico to help with the Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
With cooperation and backing from American Water, Peter Gualtier (Utility Mechanic / Pipefitter), Adolfo Archila (Pipefitter / Heavy Equipment), Karl Engallena (Pipefitter / Heavy Equipment ) and Jorge Perez ( Pipefitter / Backhoe Operator ) stepped up to join a large delegation led by the AFL-CIO to aid in relief efforts and the rebuilding of devastated infrastructure in Puerto Rico.
Our members will join other volunteers from the AFL-CIO, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), along with many other Unions, as well as United Airlines who donated the flight to fly over 300 first responders and skilled volunteers — including nurses, doctors, firefighters, electricians, pipefitters, equipment operators, engineers, carpenters and truck drivers. The United Airlines flight will also carry 35,000 pounds of relief supplies.
“I’m so proud of our members for stepping up to the plate and responding to the emergency in Puerto Rico,” said Utility Workers Union of America President, Mike Langford. “This is what we do every day, repair, repower and rebuild American communities. UWUA members get the job done!”
While in Puerto Rico, our members will coordinate with the Puerto Rico AFL-CIO and the City of San Juan on various efforts including the restoration of water and wastewater infrastructure.
“I know my services are needed in Puerto Rico,” said Adolfo Archila, an American Water heavy equipment operator from Local 423. “I’m leaving my family, and that’s hard, but it’s for a good cause. I have friends in Puerto Rico and I’m looking forward to helping out. I always wanted to be a volunteer and do the disaster relief work that needs to get done. Now, I will.”
In addition to the hundreds of highly skilled workers assembled by the AFL-CIO, the flight was operated by ALPA and AFA-represented United Airlines pilots and flight attendants volunteering their time. IAMAW-represented United ramp employees supported the flight on the ground in Newark and San Juan.
The flight departed Newark Liberty International Airport at 11:00 a.m. EDT and arrived at San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport at approximately 2:45 p.m. EDT.
UWUA is proud to be an integral part of this labor-led initiative to bring relief to the people of Puerto Rico. We will continue to provide aid and assistance in this ongoing effort and to keep our members updated on the important work our brothers and sisters are doing.