Oklahoma Tornado Takes Life of APWU Member

APWU Web News Article 065-2013, May 22 , 2013

The tornado that killed 24 people in Moore OK has claimed the life of Richard L. Jones, a Tour 3 Clerk who was a member of the Oklahoma City Area Local. Jones worked at the mail processing facility, where was well-liked by his co-workers.

Wreckage of the Moore, OK Post Office

Wreckage of the Moore, OK Post Office

“The devastation suffered by the community is almost too much to bear,” said Human Relations Director Sue Carney. “At last count, at least 12 postal employees lost everything. The homes of nine APWU members were destroyed, and dozens more sustained significant damage.” Two hundred thirty-seven postal employees and at least 29 retirees reside in Moore, Carney said. The Moore Post Office was demolished.

“We grieve for the families who lost loved ones and offer our encouragement, support, and prayers to those who lost their homes and a lifetime of memories,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.

How to Help

“I urge postal employees to give generously to the Postal Employees Relief Fund, which will help postal employees put their lives back together,” Guffey said. “It is the best way postal employees can help their co-workers who are suffering.”

Postal Employees Relief Fund

PERF’s coffers are depleted, Carney said, noting that more than 350 employees who suffered losses in Hurricane Sandy requested assistance not long ago. “There’s just not enough money to go around,” she said. “We need everyone to pitch in. The situation is dire.”

In addition to PERF, many other organizations have offered to help. Union members affected by the disaster may be eligible for $500 grants from Union Plus, and the North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributers has offered assistance. The Oklahoma AFL-CIO is creating a database of union members who need assistance.

In addition, three EAP (Employee Assistance Program) consultants have been dispatched to the affected area, where they will work with the Oklahoma District EAP consultant, as well as with leaders of the postal unions and postal management.

The EAP team will focus on the Oklahoma City Air Mail Facility, where many employees have been relocated, since the Moore Post Office is closed. The team will visit offices within a 25- to 30-mile radius of Moore.