Immediately following the onslaught of Superstorm Sandy, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) set up a Disaster Relief Fund on behalf of all affected locals, including PSC, to provide cash assistance to members who experienced losses as a result of the storm. Money collected nationally has been distributed among funds established by AFT state affiliates, including New York State United Teachers in New York. And NYSUT has set up its own fund to collect additional money and administer responses to members’ applications (www.nysut.org/members_6990.htm. PSC President Barbara Bowen said, “We want our members to know that the whole union wants to help, as we have in prior disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Irene, in addition to PSC reaching out to affected members.”
To date, nearly $300,000 has been contributed to NYSUT’s Fund by union members regionally and nationally, and by outside groups. NYSUT has received nearly 2,000 applications for grants and has responded to almost half of them with grants of about $250 each. Grants are to cover losses or basic necessities that are not covered by an applicant’s insurance policy or FEMA. As several affected PSC members have noted, every little bit helps.
NYSUT Manger of Accounting and Reporting Jeff Lockwood told Clarion that NYSUT plans a new fund-raising effort among members because the Fund has not yet collected enough to cover all the applications to date, and the applications keep coming in at a rate of 25 a day. In the meantime, NYSUT staff have been working diligently to process applications fairly and equitably. Among other things, NYSUT has been calling each applicant to confirm that the application has been received.
How to Apply
To date, 38 PSC members have applied for grants and nearly half of those have been responded to with grants from the NYSUT Relief Fund. All member applications need to be signed by the PSC President, so PSC is asking everyone applying to send their notarized application to the PSC Office (keep a copy), and PSC will forward it to NYSUT. To apply, download an application form www.nysut.org/files/NYSUTDisasterRelief.pdf, fill it out and get your signature notarized, then send it to the PSC Office, 61 Broadway, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10006, ATTN: Patricia Young. If you have any questions, please contact Patricia Young at 212-354-1252.