IAM Members Lend Hand to Flooded Houston Community

Some of the IAM District 141 members who volunteered to prepare and pass out food and bottled water to people affected by the recent historic Houston flood.

Houston is reeling after a historic Tax Day deluge dropped up to 24 inches of rain in parts of the metro area. Hit especially hard was Greenspoint, a low-income community in the shadows of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Nearly three-fourths of all multi-family housing in Greenspoint is in a flood zone on the banks of Greens Bayou. Many neighborhood families have been forced into shelters while repair bills pile up, unsure of the full damage until flood waters recede.

IAM members in Houston served fresh salads, tamales and bottles of water to a long line of Greenspoint residents.

Many in Greenspoint had been surviving on whatever food they could get within walking distance. More than a fourth of Greenspoint residents don’t have cars.

Seeing an immediate need for assistance, District 141 members raised almost $3,000 to help families affected by the floods. On Monday, April 25, about 60 members of Locals 811, 2198, 2909, and 2339O, 2339N and 2339H, their families, and officers from Districts 141 and 142 used the funds to cook and distribute almost 2,500 warm meals to Greenspoint residents.

They served fresh salads, tamales and bottles of water to a long line of Greenspoint residents.

“It was uplifting to see my fellow Machinists mobilized with such passion to stand up and help a community in need,” said District 141 Assistant General Chairman Jorge Bonilla. “It shows that the fight of the Machinists works well outside the workplace too.”

Houston’s Harvest Time Church made its facilities available so IAM members and community groups could set up relief efforts on the premises. HEB Texas Grocery provided several hundred packages of cleaning supplies and the Salvation Army had a tent offering spiritual support and guidance. Houston’s Health and Human Services Department was on hand to connect residents with housing, food and medical assistance, as well as booster shots and other city services.

“The people here are starting from behind. They’re not starting from ‘go,’” said Harvest Times Church Bishop Shelton Bady. “To underscore the severity of the need, just look at the people after they get food. They eat it immediately. They are hungry when they get here, and can’t save much for later.”

IAM members in Houston and across the U.S. and Canada are well known as community volunteers, especially when disaster strikes.

“The IAM volunteers that helped serve meals to the residents of Greenspoint provided an excellent example of the role that unions can still have in our society, by touching the lives of hundreds of members of the Houston community,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja.