Four Union Utility Workers from New Jersey American Water Travel to Puerto Rico for Relief Work
October 09, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT
Four New Jersey American Water employees joined a team of more than 300 AFL-CIO volunteers who traveled to Puerto Rico on Oct. 4 to help with Hurricane Maria relief efforts. The employees who volunteered to join this two-week assignment are Utility Mechanics Al Archila, Karl Engallena and Jorge Perez and Meter Reader/Field Service Representative Peter Gualtieri.
Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) President Mike Langford contacted local union presidents Mike Esposito, Dasher Zsomboran and Dave Quattrone to recruit skilled volunteers to join the delegation of first responders, including nurses, doctors, firefighters, electricians, pipefitters, equipment operators, engineers, carpenters and truck drivers.
“I’m proud of our members for stepping up and responding to the emergency,” said Langford. “This is what we do every day; repair, repower and rebuild American communities. UWUA members get the job done!”
“When we learned of the AFL-CIO’s relief initiative and the opportunity for some of our employees to participate, we jumped at the chance to help them participate,” said Robert MacLean, President of New Jersey American Water. “I am always impressed by how the union and the company can solve problems quickly when we work together to meet a challenge, and this mission is a terrific example of that.”
United Airlines donated free transportation aboard a Boeing 777 for the flight from Newark International Airport to San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. The plane also carried 35,000 pounds of relief supplies.
Access to drinking water has been restored to 45 percent of Puerto Rico, but more than half of the U.S. territory of 3.4 million is still going without.
“I know my services are needed,” said Archila. “I have friends in Puerto Rico and I’m looking forward to helping out. I always wanted to volunteer and do the disaster relief work that needs to get done.”
Archila works in the New Jersey American Water’s Plainfield operations center, Gualtieri is from the Belle Meade operations center, Engallena works in the company’s Shrewsbury operations center and Perez is from the Short Hills operations center.
New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.7 million people. More information can be found at www.newjerseyamwater.com. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. The company employs 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.