As East Texas rebuilds after Hurricane Harvey, three IAM Districts and three Local Lodges have banded together to help make life a little easier for residents in hard-hit areas of Houston.
Moved by the images of destruction and the needs of those impacted by the floodwaters, IAM Local 2385 in Fayetteville, Tennessee, began organizing a more than 1200-mile round trip to Houston to cook meals for impacted communities. IAM District 711 immediately began assisting the effort, and together the two organizations then started coordinating with IAM activists in Houston.
Jerry Benson, the Directing Business Rep from District 711, said, “We saw the devastation here in Houston, and we wanted to do something. So we hit the road.”
Once in Houston, Local 2385 and District 711 set up a staging area in the parking lot of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, where they were soon joined by Houston’s IAM Locals 811 and 2198. Together, the groups cooked and delivered more than 750 meals to area labor unions, FEMA relief centers and religious institutions who then provided them to individual communities.
“They were so gracious to drive all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, and come and help us,” said Linda Morales, the Organizing Coordinator of the Texas Gulf Coast Labor Federation. “And, we certainly appreciate that. That is the brotherly and sisterly thing to do, and the IAM has taken a leadership role in that effort.”
IAM District 141 Vice President, Victor Hernandez and Winpisinger Center Instructor, Jorge Bonilla, both residents of Houston, also helped organize the effort and deliver the meals.
“It was an impressive display of solidarity to see our Sisters and Brothers from across this great Union come together to help communities in need.” Bonilla said. “It goes to show – yet again – that when the Fighting Machinists are there, you are never alone.”