CAW-Skilled Trades Katrina Relief 2006

September 5, 2006

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CAW-Skilled Trades Katrina Relief 2006
CAW-Skilled Trades Katrina Relief 2006
dated September 5, 2006

August 29, 2006
New Orleans, USA

       Crews of Canadian Auto Workers union skilled trades members are on the ground in the hurricane devastated Ninth Ward of New Orleans; helping to restore some of the homes of workers of colour. On the one year anniversary of hurricane Katrina, CAW national president Buzz Hargrove visited the crews in New Orleans.


Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I think you are doing an incredible job. Our union is some proud of you."

       Later in the day Hargrove, with one of the home owners, Jacqueline Buggage, explained how the program worked to Canadian television via a satellite up link.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I'm down here to review it and see how it is working out and see if we can extend it. They're giving up their time. Our union is paying their transportation, their lodging and their food while they are here and they are doing an incredible job helping out people like Jackie here beside me."

       The CAW is working with the non government organization ACORN to select which homes to rebuild. ACORN chief organizer Wade Rathke praised the CAW initiative.

Wade Rathke
ACORN Chief Organizer

       "I want to tell everybody how much we appreciate the partnership and assistance from the Canadian Auto Workers. Their skilled trades division thanks to some brilliant bargaining with the Big "3" in Canada has been able to put together the architecture of this program and it came at a perfect time for us. It is a year after the storm and finally people are putting their money together from the government and insurance is starting to rebuild their houses."

       Shocked by the vastness of the disaster area the CAW skilled trades went to work with quiet determination. Despite the 40 degree Celsius heat and humidity, CAW skilled trades people like Adrian Harris worked non stop.

Adrian Harris
CAW Local 444

       "The only good ray of hope we have is that we are doing something and these people, this lady, Miss Jackie, she is going to get back in this house. She is going to be able to go back into her house and eat Sunday dinners with her family and things like that. That's what keeps you going."

       The CAW volunteer skilled trades crews will rotate into the program until late September. In the meantime the CAW National Executive Board is considering the viability of extending the program and the availability of skilled trades' volunteers.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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