January 10, 2018

Week seven: Nov. 6-12, 2017 in Texas

Diana Mejia of Wind of the Spirit, and Mary Millspaugh of United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 7-103-A continued their work as Specialized Emergency Response Trainers (SERTs) in Texas this week.

MONDAY The SERTs kicked off the week making follow-up calls with organizations such as Fe y Justicia and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), scheduling training and obtaining PPE for laborers. They spoke with Scot Rudolph of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and planned to travel to Splendora, Texas, to conduct an assessment of people living in a particular area affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“This is the area where some members of the NDWA have been living and working despite the mold hazards present,” Mejia said.

TUESDAY The SERTs set out to complete their assessment in Splendora where they spoke with homeowners and discovered that some people were living in tents outside of their mold-filled homes.

They contacted Arturo Archila of the Labor Institute and prepared for an upcoming training on resiliency.

WEDNESDAY To start the day, the SERTs prepped for the resiliency training, worked out details for the “ice cream social” which also included shopping for the children of the affected families, and conducted follow-up phone calls for training. The rest of the day included facilitation of resiliency training at a local church with 19 participants.

THURSDAY Mejia and Millspaugh conducted another OSHA 10-hour Construction course today, this time for 18 women who are members of the NDWA. The training took place in the Health, Safety and Environment building at the University of Texas.

After the training, the SERTs hosted the “ice cream social” at the hotel with families who were affected by the hurricane. Many families attended; children received a bag of games and activities while the adults working on their houses received proper PPE. Attendees shared their experiences and challenges among one another.

FRIDAY The SERTs completed an OSHA 10-hour Construction course today after starting it the week prior, which included 14 participants.

SATURDAY Mejia and Millspaugh completed another OSHA 10-hour Construction course today after starting it the week prior, which included 28 participants.

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