For immediate release
September 1, 2021
In a year already filled with record-breaking heat waves, floods, storms, and wildfires, this past Sunday, Hurricane Ida made landfall in the Gulf Coast, causing devastation reminiscent of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey. As we continue to assess the destruction left behind in the Gulf Coast by Ida’s path—including leaving the entire city of New Orleans in the dark without critical resources such as air conditioning amid 100+ degree deep-south temperatures—UNITE HERE sends all our love and solidarity to our members and the rest of the communities impacted by this disaster.
People living at the margins of our economy are always the ones hardest hit when natural disasters strike. As the Union of hospitality workers, we see firsthand what this pain and hardship means for people in communities already devastated by COVID-19. We saw it when Katrina hit, and again when Harvey and Irma hit. We saw it when Texas was frozen over and people lost access to heat during the middle of winter, and when fires destroyed homes in California. These disasters are only going to continue with greater frequency if we don’t figure out how to act in the name of climate justice—and act fast.
Climate justice is an economic and racial justice issue, and as a labor movement we know how to bring people together in moments of crisis, and we know how to build a movement that can accomplish extraordinary change and overcome enormous obstacles. UNITE HERE is working quickly on the frontlines of the disaster spread across the Gulf Coast, supporting families in need as our Union has done throughout the pandemic. Together we will get through this—and together we must act—not just to provide relief but to tackle the underlying causes of climate change that put people at the economic margins worldwide in the greatest jeopardy.