Unionized faculty members at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park are standing in solidarity with their colleagues in California whose lives have been impacted by devastating wild fires. Forty people have died in the fires and scores of homes and businesses have been destroyed.
Culinary Teachers Association President Richard Horvath urged the CIA's administration to use caution before classes and other activities resume at the CIA Greystone campus in California's Napa Valley.
"The Hyde Park faculty share the concern of the entire CIA community for the welfare of all students, faculty, and staff at our Greystone campus," wrote Horvath in a letter to administrators. His 125-member local is affiliated with NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers.
"Faculty, students and staff there will clearly need time to plan for their return to campus and the resumption of classes and other operations, and we hope they will not need to begin those tasks until more immediate anxieties about safety can subside."
Policy for CIA campuses, including Greystone, is set by administrators in Hyde Park who said 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." Fires spared the institute's Greystone and Copia campuses and both have reopened.
The AFT and California Federation of Teachers have set up a disaster relief fund to help fire victims. Donations can be made at www.aft.org/disaster-relief-fund-ca. California FT President Josh Pechthalt said the fires have resulted in "catastrophic" loss for scores of CFT members, many of whom "have lost everything, while many more have been forced to evacuate with just their wallets and their keys, and the future of their homes uncertain."