I am writing on behalf of the affiliate leaders in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, from whom we have been getting texts and other communications intermittently. Barely a week after Hurricane Irma, AFT members and their families in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are coping with the ravages of a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. For the third time in the last month, we are asking you to give to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund for our colleagues who have been devastated by a monster hurricane.
Hurricane Maria is the largest storm to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in more than 80 years. Puerto Rico is completely without power—and some are saying the electric grid has been destroyed. One of its dams is on the verge of failing. Neighborhoods throughout the Caribbean are waterlogged. Roofs have peeled off homes, schools and shopping centers. And the death toll is rising.
The damage has left so many of our members and their communities with nothing, and it will take years to rebuild. Help us lend a hand in their time of need by donating to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund.
The AFT is here for our members, their families and the tens of thousands of students and others we serve on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And we know this is personal for our many members who have family who live on the islands.
Our three local unions in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are making every effort to get in touch with all our members there to check on them and see what they need. We are praying for their safety. And just as we are doing in Texas, Florida and the other areas hit by these hurricanes, we will help them rebuild.
As I said when the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s teachers union, joined the AFT, “tu lucha es mi lucha.” We will be with our members every step of the way to ensure they recover after this devastating storm.
Randi Weingarten, AFT president
Aida Diaz, Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico president
Carol Callwood, St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers, Local 1825 president
Rosa Soto-Thomas, St. Croix Federation of Teachers, Local 1826 president
P.S. Watch the video of how the AFT has helped members in Texas after Hurricane Harvey. This is what we do as a union—and what we will do for our members in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.