The spate of wild fires in northern California this month that has ravaged thousands of homes, displaced residents and claimed the lives of more than 40 people has once again spurred NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers into action.
The AFT, in collaboration with the California Federation of Teachers, has established a disaster relief fund to help its member throughout the Napa Valley region who have been adversely impacted by the series of destructive blazes.
Meanwhile, NYSUT- and AFT-affiliated faculty at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park are advocating on behalf of their CIA colleagues in California to ensure administrators are mindful of the plight of teachers and students there.
These latest actions mark the fourth time in seven weeks the unions have moved to help members dealing with natural disasters in wake of both the fires and recent hurricanes.
“It is times like this that we come together as a union, and as a family, to help our fellow members,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “as we did in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, in Florida after Hurricane Irma and in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Now, we are asking for immediate help for our members through the Disaster Relief Fund and we will be there for the long haul to help the rebuilding and recovery process.
In Hyde Park, the 125-member Culinary Teachers Association has been working to promote the disaster relief fund as part of its effort to help their colleagues at the CIA Greystone campus in St. Helena, Calif. And earlier this month, CTA President Rich Horvath wrote to school administrators urging that they not order the resumption of classes or other campus activities until teachers and students were given the chance to settle their lives.
Policy for CIA campuses, including Greystone, is set by administrators in Hyde Park, who pledged that the “safety and well being of our students, staff and faculty are at the very core of all deliberations as we navigate these unprecedented conditions.”
Operations at CIA Greystone had been suspended due to the fires, but were resumed Monday.