February 02, 2018

Week 10: Jan. 15-21, 2018 in Puerto Rico

TUESDAY Millspaugh and Bonilla remained in Puerto Rico this week to continue their SERT work. They both traveled to the USW District 4 office today to schedule upcoming train-the-trainer courses, plan a meeting with the local AFL-CIO and connect with members of the Martin Peña organization in order to continue outreach efforts.

On Wednesday, William Bonilla of MRNY reported:

“Today we had the meeting with the workers federation of Puerto Rico; first we met alone with the president of the federation, Jose M. Rodriguez, to explain our initiative and have their approval to participate in the general meeting with the presidents of other locals that belong to the federation. All were very interested in spreading the word of our proposal to their respective members and communities, and committed to the search for leading members who can take the train-the-trainer courses. We confirmed the dates of the train-the-trainer courses for Feb. 5 and 7. Also, the president of the federation personally offered to go with us to visit an organization in the area of San Juan tomorrow morning to offer the training. In the afternoon, we will meet with members of Martin Peña organization.”

THURSDAY Bonilla and Millspaugh connected with Yaphett Torres, USW District 4 staff representative, and Jose Rodriguez, and then met with Pedro Carrion. Carrion is a community and environmental leader in Cataño, where his efforts are focused on 11 different communities. He is excited to bring the USWTMC training to those affected in the communities he serves.

After this meeting, the team was introduced to Estrella Santiago, a representative from Caño Martín Peña.

“This is a very poor community that has been quite affected by being close to contaminated water,” Bonilla said.

Santiago is also very interested in receiving more information and possibly USWTMC training, especially mold awareness, to those affected in the eight different communities she serves.

“Tomorrow we will travel with Yaphett to Ponce where we will visit with more USW members to hand out NIEHS booklets and organize training in that area.

FRIDAY Bonilla, Millspaugh and Torres traveled to Ponce today, where they met with USW Local Union 4-8198 President Mayra Rivera and distributed NIEHS booklets to workers in the facility and municipality. Rivera presented them with workers interested in training. Later they met with another community member, Carmen Pacheco and made another contact. Train-the-trainer, resiliency and mold awareness classes are all scheduled through Feb. 3.

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