Environmental Justice

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1199ers marched in the Climate March on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Labor Solidarity with Student Mobilization for Climate Justice

Young people around the world are taking to the streets on September 20th to ensure a future where our lives and livelihoods are not threatened by disastrous storms and growing food shortages.

A United Nations report backed by 6,000 climate scientists around the world has warned that the world has just over a decade to avert climate catastrophe. If we do not move now to drastically cut our carbon dioxide emissions, by converting to renewable energy sources, we will see even more hurricanes, floods, forest fires and droughts than we are experiencing now. Large parts of the planet will become uninhabitable.

Jose Gonzalez, is an 1199 Delegate who works as a Patient Billing Liaison at Mount Sinai Union Square, who will be marching in solidarity with the students on September 20th. His cousin and her family in Puerto Rico were forced to leave their home after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on the same day in 2017. Like hundreds of others, they had to make a new life for themselves in Florida.

“The storm caused a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. I have aunts, uncles, cousins spread out throughout the island and they were badly hit, to the point that some of them did not have electricity until March of the following year-- some six months later,” recalls Gonzalez.

Vicky Muniz - Montefiore - Puerto Rico.PNGAnother long-term 1199 member, Vicky Muniz, an LPN at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, took part in the rescue operation mounted by the Greater New York Hospital Association in conjunction with the union in 2017.

“My parents are from Puerto Rico,” says Muniz, “I have childhood memories of going there in the summer. When I heard about the hurricane, I felt it was my duty to help. I know my father would have gone too, if he could.”

Muniz, who has worked at Montefiore for 22 years, was in Puerto Rico for two weeks in October 2017, shortly after the storm hit. Her mother-in-law was one of the many people there whose home was damaged. She did not have electricity either. One of the jobs of the medical staff who came to help was to manually pump the ventilators of patients on life support when the generator in the hospital went down.

“We have children and grandchildren to think about,” says Muniz, “We cannot leave the world in disarray.”

Our union has a proud tradition of supporting mass mobilizations around the climate emergency. In 2017, we sent 36 busses carrying more than 50 members each to Washington D.C. on April 29th. Members from Upstate New York, Boston and Florida took part in sister marches on the same day. Well over 2,000 1199ers turned out to protest against climate chaos and push for environmental justice.

1199 MEMBERS SPEAK OUT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Krystyna Garncarz, PCA at Staten Island Hospital.
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Emilia Arendacova, PCA at Staten Island Hospital
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Nancy Fisher,
Clerical Associate at Staten Island Hospital

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