1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East has teamed up with the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) to establish the Puerto Rico Relief Fund. They are coordinating relief efforts to ensure the safety of doctors and nurses who volunteer to help Puerto Rican medical personnel.

When 1199 members heard that a plane of medical supplies to help the injured in Puerto Rico was leaving this Tuesday morning, they stepped up and helped check and pack those supplies, which include antibiotics, bandages, IV catheters, syringes and vaccines. They joined the New York State Nurses Association, UJA-Federation of New York and the Afya Foundation in Yonkers to ensure that Puerto Rico receives the needed relief as soon as possible.

“1199 is a diverse union and our members have families all over the world. We have members from around the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico,” said Maria Castaneda, the Secretary-Treasurer of 1199SEIU. “1199 stands with Puerto Rico not just today, but until the island is re-built, better and stronger.”

Announcing the deployment, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “For the hospitals and the medical community to be making this gesture now is really significant because the medical community themselves is under a lot of pressure. There have been a series of federal cutbacks that are hurting hospitals that are forcing them to find more efficiencies, more savings, and even in the midst of that you see this show of tremendous generosity and to me that makes it even more powerful and more poignant. I believe this state has done more to help Puerto Rico than any state in the United States and I am proud of that, on behalf of the people of this state.)

The medical supplies deployment was made at the request of the Puerto Rican Governor, Ricardo Rosello and organized in partnership with UNICEF USA and UPS to deliver and distribute the donated items throughout the island.

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