February 18, 2018

Week 14: Feb. 12-18, 2018 in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Marybeth Potter of United Steelworkers Local Union 1-689 remained in the Virgin Islands this week to continue outreach on behalf of the USW Specialized Emergency Response Trainers. She was joined by Frank Condell, training director for the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Pittsburgh Chapter, and USWTMC worker-trainer.

The SERTs took Monday to visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Saint Thomas with USW Local Union 9-8249 President Sheryl Parris and Health and Safety Representative Gary Simon. They toured the facility noticing significant mold hazards and spoke with some members regarding illness due to exposure. The team then went on to the lieutenant governor’s office where they connected with some members as well as management. In the end, they made plans to work together to solve significant health and safety issues. Potter reported that they were presented with contact information for guidance from the United Steelworkers InternationalNational Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They also offered NIEHS booklets for more information on how to protect oneself while helping others in the wake of a natural disaster.

On Tuesday the SERTs scheduled a tentative training focused on mold remediation for USW members at a union meeting to take place on Thursday. Potter and Condell worked to put together the materials.

Potter and Condell, along with Parris, visited SeaView nursing home on Wednesday where USW-represented members work. The SERTs reported significant damage from the hurricane along with little funding left to clean up and rebuild the damaged areas. The facility administrator reported to them that the residents are safe, the damaged areas are secured and the remaining structure is livable and intact, however, obvious work still needs to be completed.

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