November 29, 2018

Week One: Sept. 23-29, 2018

United Steelworkers (USW) District 9 SERTs Calvin Bozeman of Local Union 675 and Billy Edington of Local 288 deployed on Sunday, Sept. 23. Upon arrival to Durham, N.C., they connected with Jim Remington of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The next day, the SERTs began their assessment and outreach work at the NIEHS office, where they met with Remington and were directed to the Clearinghouse to obtain training booklets in English and Spanish. They stopped at a Lowe’s in Fayetteville and handed out 94 NIEHS booklets with health and safety information on protecting oneself while facing hazards associated with floods, hurricanes and mold exposure.

“As we handed them out, it gave us the opportunity to do some one-on-one training with some of the individuals we provided with books,” Edington said.

The SERTs also made contact with a USW member at a nearby Goodyear Tire & Rubber Plant, and reached out to the area staff representative to discuss training needs for local unions.

On Tuesday, Bozeman and Edington visited USW Local 959 in Fayetteville and met with Joe Shelley of USW Local 508 (Charleston, S.C.) and Steve Bass, vice president of Local 959. The SERTs planned to attend the local’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday to assess training needs. They distributed 200 NIEHS booklets here.

Following the meeting, they connected with Alexis Andre of Ville910age, a nonprofit and community organization in Fayetteville. Andre recommended they visit the four recreation centers in the city, some of which are housing displaced families, and set up training sessions at these locations. The SERTs distributed 360 booklets on flood, hurricanes and mold in English and 20 mold booklets in Spanish.

The SERTs distributed 72 more booklets to customers entering and leaving the area Lowe’s, again providing them the opportunity to speak one-on-one with community members cleaning up and rebuilding.

The SERTs continued outreach on Wednesday, stopping first at the American Red Cross at the University of North Carolina (UNC) to distribute 80 NIEHS booklets.

“There were 70 people staying there; some were homeless individuals and others were displaced by the hurricane,” Edington said. “The center was housing overflow from the other shelters that were closer to impacted areas.”

They traveled to another American Red Cross center next, which is part of the Arthur D. Smith Recreation Center and distributed another 200 booklets. This center housed 59 individuals.

Bozeman and Edington ended their day of outreach at another local Lowe’s where they connected with customers and provided another 60 booklets.

On Thursday the SERTs navigated to three more American Red Cross facilities including those located at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center, Lumberton High School and Purnell Swett High School. They handed out a total of 210 NIEHS booklets in English and 20 in Spanish. Each center housed individuals who either completely lost their homes or were waiting for repairs to be completed, totaling 252 displaced victims.

Bozeman and Edington later attended a monthly meeting led by Local 959 and were given the opportunity to connect with local union members and offer training.

The SERTs reconvened with Andre at Ville910age on Friday and discussed more contacts and training opportunities for the future. They assisted her with disaster relief supplies and safety data sheet (SDS) information. After their meeting, Bozeman and Edington went back to the Arthur D. Smith Recreation Center and provided 40 more NIEHS booklets.

On Saturday, the SERTs distributed over 70 NIEHS booklets at local Lowe’s stores, and prepared 300 more booklet packets for use the following week.

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