On Dec. 11, just a few hours after tornadoes devastated parts of western Kentucky, Todd Dunn, UAW Local 862 president, posted a video requesting support and Ford employees began to mobilize. Supplies started pouring in to the union halls of Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant and, two days later, two 30-foot trailers were on their way to hard-hit Dawson Springs along with 25 UAW-Ford employees.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear diverted the group from their original destination of Mayfield as FEMA was already on the ground there. The Ford team fueled generators, sorted donations, and worked to stabilize structures with help from Tree Care Inc., which sent two crews to the scene.
As boots were hitting the ground in western Kentucky, the Women of Ford chapter of Kentucky Truck Plant and the UAW women’s committee prepared for another wave of donations locally. The group tasked each area or department with collecting monetary donations and essential items in the lobby of the plant. Toiletries, socks, underwear and diapers were then loaded onto a trailer and delivered to the union hall, along with $6,000 in monetary donations. At that point, the donations headed to either Dawson Springs or Bowling Green.
Dunn estimates that Louisville-area UAW-Ford employees donated approximately three semi-tractor trailer loads of supplies in a week. Both union halls will continue to accept items through the end of the year, but money is what is needed most right now. Every dollar received is immediately directed toward humanitarian and recovery efforts such as purchasing blankets and tarps or paying insurance deductibles.
In addition, the newly established National AFL-CIO State Fed Greater Louisville Central Labor Council has partnered with Metro United Way to create a disaster relief center at the Louisville Assembly Plant UAW hall. Dunn estimates this initial triage phase will take approximately two months, while talks regarding long-term, more sustainable solutions are ongoing.
If you would like to contribute toward western Kentucky tornado relief, please visit https://www.uwky.org/aflcio.
Kentucky’s United Way network is proud to work with the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and all of organized labor to support services for union families and all of those impacted by the devastating tornado event of Dec. 10-11, 2021.
At this time, monetary donations are needed to support immediate needs and long-term recovery for impacted communities. 100% of donated funds received will go directly to recovery efforts. Please consider rounding up your gift to cover the cost of credit card processing fees when donating.
Donations to the United Way recovery fund up to $300 for individuals or $600 for couples are tax deductible in 2021 even if you don’t itemize your taxes. Contact your tax advisor for more details.
Click the link above to give via credit card or by bank account. If you prefer to make a gift by check, please send it to United Way of Kentucky, P.O. Box 4653, Louisville, Kentucky, 40204, with the memo line “Union Disaster Relief.”