Steelworkers' Humanity Fund Contributes $20,000 Toward Flood Relief in the Philippines

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - "The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is contributing $20,000 toward emergency aid for communities affected by unprecedented flooding in early August in and around Manila, the capital of the Philippines," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director. "In addition to providing support for immediate relief, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund is supporting a project that will assist poor communities in Metro Manila in implementing a disaster management and community resilience plan to be better prepared for flooding from typhoons or storms which will inevitably come," Neumann said.

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund contribution will go to the Workers Assistance Center in Cavite, and to Likhaan, a leading women's health organization.

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is a registered charitable organization that focuses primarily on development projects and emergency aid in developing countries, but also supports Canadian communities in crisis. Steelworkers union members contribute to the fund through clauses negotiated into collective agreements. In some cases, matching contributions come from employers.

The rains that caused floods in August 2012 were amongst the worst recorded in Philippine history. The equivalent of nearly two months of rain fell on Metro Manila and in several provinces in Luzon on August 6 and 7. At least 95 people lost their lives in the subsequent landslides and floods, mostly through drowning. Nearly one million were displaced from their homes. In total over 2.4 million people living in 144 different municipalities were affected.

The Workers Assistance Center was established in 1995 in Rosario, Cavite, to defend workers' human and labour rights. Normally the WAC focuses its advocacy and educational work on three core rights for workers: the right to free association, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike or undertake other collective actions. In response to requests for help from its members, WAC is distributing emergency aid.

Likhaan is one of the Philippine's leading women's health organizations delivering primary health care through clinics and trained community health workers, as well as supporting community organizing with women and youth groups. The Steelworkers Humanity Fund support for Likhaan will be channeled through Ottawa-based Inter Pares, which has a long-standing relationship with the Philippine organization.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW, 416-544-5996, bgallagher@usw.ca
Doug Olthuis, Steelworkers Humanity Fund, 416-544-5957, dolthuis@usw.ca


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