When Bad Things Happen to Good Members

Among the scores of IAM members turning to their union for help in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, is Neil Trinchese, a member of New York Local 447 whose Howard Beach home was severely damaged when ocean water poured into the house.

“He lost it all,” said District 15 Business Representative Perry Esposito, who visited Trinchese shortly after the waters receded. “Salt water filled the sewers and back-fed into the house, filling the basement and inside the ground level. All the appliances, sheetrock, hot water heater, burner, circuit breakers, TV and computers were destroyed.”

Like many of his neighbors, Trinchese was unprepared for the damage caused by a 14-ft storm surge that pummeled coastal communities in New Jersey, Staten Island and New York.

“At first, we thought it would be like other storms,” said Trinchese, who was with family members, including his niece and 11-month old baby when the storm hit. “But things got real scary real fast when the water started coming in the house and there was nowhere to go.”

The day after the storm brought a new reality for Trinchese and his neighbors.  

“We no longer had power, drinking water or transportation,” said Trinchese, who lost two cars to the floodwaters. “Rental cars quickly became very hard to find and greedy car dealers are making decent used cars practically unaffordable.”

Trinchese, who works for Servisair at LaGuardia Airport and serves fellow IAM members there as chief steward, was quick to note the help he received from fellow IAM members and representatives.

“Our situation would be far worse without the help and support I got from my union,” said Trinchese.  “Having friends like Perry Esposito, Robert Motisi and Jim Conigliaro, who left the safety and comfort of their own homes to help my family is very moving and we’ll never forget it.”

“There are so many people who were totally devastated by this storm, “said District 15 DBR Jim Conigliaro. “For our members in these communities, many who are still without power, this disaster is far from over.”

To help fellow IAM members like Neil Trinchese who are affected by this latest disaster, please send a check to the “IAM Disaster Relief Fund” and mail it to: IAM Community Services Department, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687. Administered by the IAM Community Services Department, the IAM Disaster Relief Fund relies solely on contributions from fellow IAM members and Lodges.