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George Gresham is president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest health care union in the nation, and Bill McKibben is an environmental activist, writer and founder of 350.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors.
(CNN)Kim Fish, a patient care assistant and union member at Staten Island University Hospital, was on duty the night Superstorm Sandy hit New York four years ago. After evacuating their family to higher ground, her husband, Jon, returned home to watch over their property. As the storm intensified, Kim got a call from her sister-in-law with terrifying news. Jon was trapped in their living room by floodwaters up to his neck and didn't think he was going to survive.