The video clip starts with a group of volunteers from the Schoharie Teachers Association insulating William Nelson’s house on Main Street. Mostly I trust a notebook to capture people’s words, so here’s what’s not on tape.
“I worked construction all my life, but because of these tremors in my hands I can’t even hold a nail anymore,” Nelson said.
He proceeded to talk about his service in Vietnam and the injuries he sustained there as well as years on the job. I asked him what it meant to him to have the insulation installed.
“Do you know what it’s like to not be able to fix my own house?” he asked.
I look away as I am ashamed that I had not listened closely enough to the meaning behind his listing of injuries. Nelson and I watch the work of Schoharie TA members Steve Hoard, Steve Usher, John Sorady, Janna O’Leary and Amy Hausman, who were joined by family and friends. After awhile he says, “This means the world to me.”
The next part of the video shows the effort at 111 Fair St. That’s the owner Susan McGiver’s voice calling the effort to reinsulate her business, the Harva Company, “awesome” and “phenomenal.”
The Harva Co. makes plastics parts for the electronics industry. 22 Harva employees have worked full-time cleaning up machinery in the six weeks since the flooding, but as of this writing they are still unable to restart production on any of their contracts with Lockheed Martin or General Electric.
In the video, you’ll see Jered Marcantonio, a Galway TA member talking about the effort of his students to UUP member Jared Stanley (operating a real video camera).
Next up in the video is Denise LaBadia of the Schoharie TA, who is insulating a bathroom. Then there’s Schoharie TA President Martin Messner welcoming the UFTers on Sunday morning.
Next up is a group of people walking. Since the UFTers came by bus, they had to walk to their work sites. The voice you hear is NYSUT’s Andy Pallotta talking about the work they’ll be doing for homes on Grand Street. Then you see UFTers working with the Mahopac TA to insulate Ben Griffin’s home.
The video ends with UFT President Michael Mulgrew asking for the whereabouts of one of his colleagues. A former carpenter, Mulgrew was able to install drywall that the homeowner, Tracy McGuinness-Booth, had purchased.
Here’s a list of NYSUT locals or other unions who signed in: Schoharie, NYSUT, UFT, Mahopac, CWA 1118, Troy, AFL-CIO, Schoharie Central EA, PEF, CSEA, CWA-Verizon, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Rensselaer-Columbia-Greene BOCES, Capital Region BOCES, Frankfort Schuyler, Galway , Guilderland, South Glens Falls, Albany, Ravena, Syosset, Professional Staff Association of NYSUT, Albany Labor Council, NYSUT Retiree Council 12, Amsterdam, Katonah-Lewisboro, Fonda, UUP chapter at Oneonta, the state Department of Labor and United Auto Workers.
Businesses supporting the effort include Price Chopper, Home Depot, United Way, Girl Scouts (both of Schuylerville and of Northeastern New York) and Boy Scouts, General Electric, NRC Carpenters, TJS Construction, Office of Mental Health, Town of Hoosick Lions Club, Duanesburg Presbyterian Reformed Church, Center for Disability Services, First Reformed Church, Habitat for Humanity, Future Farmers of America, Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership, and IBM. A notable is Congressman Paul Tonko.
Then there’s a whole bunch of initials I don’t know. So if you know what they stand for please comment. People signed in under UTEA, ACSO, NPPE, DRPC and CSG.