Impacts of Hurricane Sandy

Roundtable focused on building labor-community partnerships for recovery
Cornell University: Worker Institute: News: Recovery and Rebuilding Forum
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A labor and community forum focused on building partnerships for recovery


"Building Partnerships and Strategies Toward Recovery and Rebuilding" at ILR's Manhattan offices brought together leaders from unions, business, community and academia to discuss strategies and policies addressing Superstorm Sandy's impact on New York City and New York state.

The forum was sponsored by the Worker Institute at Cornell the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force and Somos el Futuro Inc.

Marc Bayard, executive director of the Worker Institute welcomed participants and panelists. They included:

  • New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz
  • Somos El Futuro Chairman Cesar Astralaga
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Director Jorge Silva
  • Workforce Development Institute Executive Director Ed Murphy
  • New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Chung-Wha Hong
  • Bishop Dr. Kirkland of the Worldwide Association of Small Churches
  • New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health Executive Director Joel Shufro.

Forum participants discussed the critical situation and needs of low-income families and minorities, who were disproportionately affected by the storm. Ortiz provided information about resources available to the communities and Silva spoke about loans available to small businesses.

Sonia Ivany of the Workforce Development Institute and union leaders from health care, public sector and construction spoke about the key roles of union workers in the recovery efforts, as well as the challenges that union workers have faced as a result of the storm. Shufro outlined continuing safety risks faced by recovery workers and the need for additional efforts to safeguard workers' rights. Hong addressed the specific needs of immigrant workers impacted by the hurricane.

The event provided an opportunity for policymakers, small business and labor leaders to outline critical community needs, share resources and discuss possible solutions. Bayard said, "A priority of the Worker Institute is to provide a space for advancing the discussion of the key challenges and policy issues that face workers and the broader community. We hope to engage in more collaborations with the Hispanic & Puerto Rican Task Force and Somos el Futuro to expand this area of work and continue to bring these issues to the forefront."

Event Details

Date: Thursday, January 10, 2012

Time: 9:00am to 1:00pm

Location: Cornell University, ILR School, 16 East 34th Street, 6th Floor (between 5th and Madison Avenues)


Welcome: Marc Bayard, Executive Director, The Worker Institute at Cornell University, ILR

Opening Remarks and Overview: Chairman Felix Ortiz, NYS Assembly Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force

Panel Presentations:

Jorge Silva, Director, US Small Business Administration

Ed Murphy, Executive Director, Workforce Development Initiative, AFL-CIO

Chung-Wha, Executive Director, NY Immigration Coalition

Bishop D. Kirkland, Chairperson, Worldwide Association of Small Churches

Joel Shufro, Executive Director, NY Committee, Occupational Safety and Health

Antonio Martinez, Executive Director, Somos Spring Conference, Albany, NY 

For more information, contact Antonio Martinez, Executive Director, Somos el Futuro, Inc. at