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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Union helps Local 1501 member after fire guts home


Stanley Mitchell, a Local 1501 security guard at the Museum of the City of New York, got a phone call February 8 that changed his life. His wife was on the line: “Smoke is coming from the basement!”

By the time Mitchell reached home, fire had completely engulfed his East Flatbush, Brooklyn home.

“Fortunately, everyone got out safe,” Mitchell said, “but the inside of our home was completely destroyed.” He shared his problem with Shop Steward Errol Scott and Local 1501 President Raul Domenech.

“We’re here to give Stanley the support he needs to get through this disaster,” said Domenech. The union leaders connected Mitchell, who has worked for the City for 35 years, with MELS lawyer Carrie Miller and social worker Stephanie Kleinberg, director of the union’s Personal Service Unit.

“I appreciate Raul and Errol,” Mitchell said, “They came to my side and supported me. They directed me to the union for services and resources.”

“Due to the pandemic, communications were limited to document review and providing information on the process and the roles of the various professionals involved in restoring the home, and the contract the member entered into with the restoration company he hired,” Miller said. She plans to continue to offer Mitchell help throughout the process.

Kleinberg said, “I was able to assess his emotional and concrete needs and provide him support, referrals and assistance to help him start to rebuild.”

After the fire, the Mitchell family moved in with relatives for a short while. They now live in an apartment. It will take about six months to a year before their home is rebuilt and they can return.

“We have to start all over again but it could be worse,” Mitchell said. “Things can be replaced, but your loved ones are irreplaceable.”

“Having access to the professional services DC 37 provides makes belonging to a union invaluable to our members,” Domenech said.