A coalition of labor unions and businesses has joined to distribute needed tents and other essential supplies to assist Puerto Ricans struggling in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that have rocked the island since December.
“It is frankly unimaginable for a community to have to confront two natural disasters on top of an economic catastrophe, but that is exactly what the people of Puerto Rico have confronted since 2017: Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes, a predatory Wall Street seeking to ensure its bondholders’ interests go before the people’s, and a noncaring president,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten, who traveled to Guánica on Jan. 21.
“It’s our moral duty as the affiliate of Puerto Rico’s teachers to help; to come together to help our fellow American citizens,” he said.
The first tranche of more than 50 commercial tents and sidewalls provided by American Tent and hundreds of other emergency items will arrive in four Puerto Rico ports, transported by members of the Seafarers International Union and aboard vessels of shipping companies Crowley Maritime and TOTE Maritime, after the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, the Puerto Rico Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees launched a donation drive that has netted more than $50,000 so far.
The tents and sidewalls supplied by the Wisconsin-based company American Tent will provide temporary classrooms for students and educators in some of the hardest-hit areas in the island’s south, where thousands of homes, schools and commercial buildings were destroyed and damaged.