1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East - whose Boston local has already distinguished itself by hosting a relief center for Boston-area Haitians - is stepping up yet again for the Haitian cause. SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in the country - announced today that it is donating $1 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.
"This tragedy has hit 1199 very close to home. Our union has tens of thousands of members who are of Haitian descent in New York and Boston," said President of 1199SEIU George Gresham. "We are grateful that organizations like UNICEF are there on the ground, providing life-saving supplies, emergency personnel and equipment, as the number one priority right now is to prevent a second wave of disaster.”
“In the days since the earthquake, we’ve had an outpouring of support from our members inquiring how they can help. While 1199SEIU stands ready to send healthcare worker volunteers once Haiti’s infrastructure is ready to receive them, in the interim, we will aggressively raise money from our membership and allies for UNICEF’s relief efforts so everyone can help in some way.”
“On behalf of the children of Haiti, we accept this gift and applaud the efforts of 1199SEIU,” said CEO and President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern. “Knowing that many 1199 members are of Haitian descent and have family members in and around Port-au-Prince makes this contribution and the efforts of the union that much more heartfelt.”
In partnership with UNICEF, the union has also launched a special Haiti relief website at www.wecareforhaiti.org as well as a special toll free Haiti relief hotline number at 1-877-875-6561, to help provide crisis counseling and assistance to anyone affected by the tragedy. In
addition, the 1199SEIU Haitian Caucus and members in Massachusetts have mobilized a coordinated response to the crisis. The union’s Boston office recently served as the City's Haiti Resource Center and has partnered with the City of Boston to set up free counseling service for members of the Haitian community. The Resource Center has moved now to the Mattapan branch of the Boston Public Library where 1199SEIU members and leaders continue to help spearhead its operations.
To donate to the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti, please visit: www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call 1-800-4UNICEF.