Building Trades, Features, Labor News Briefs, National

Texas Steelworkers Volunteer for Harvey Rescues

September 10, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Houston, Tex.—On Sunday, Aug. 27, the roof of refinery worker Brandon Parker’s house in League City, Texas, was leaking, and he and his wife and three children had already taken in flooded-out relatives. He told her that he wanted to go out and help people. “She wasn’t too happy, but she understood that I needed to do that,” Parker told his union, the United Steelworkers. He drove his high-riding 1990 Suburban to a neighborhood in Dickinson, the next town south, where nearly every house was flooded, and took hurricane refugees walking through deep water and drove them to a bar that was still on dry ground. Later, he joined a friend who had a boat—Kenneth Yates, a member of Plumbers Local Union 68—and Yates’ stepfather, Robert Young, a retired member of the American Federation of Teachers. Launching the boat into six-foot-deep water on Interstate 45, they rode around Dickinson, picking up nine people who were stranded on the second floor of their homes, and at one point, narrowly escaped being sunk by the points on an iron fence. Other Steelworkers who joined the rescue efforts included Felicia Weir of Santa Fe, who drove for hours around flood-closed roads to bring baby formula and clothes to a couple with three young grandchildren, and Marcos Velez of Pasadena, who saved 13 people whose cars were inundated by three feet of fast-rising water in Baytown. Read more

September 10, 2017

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