Thursday, October 9, 2008

Labor Supports the United Way

United Way and organized labor work together to solicit contributions from workers through payroll deduction, which account for approximately two-thirds of the funds that United Ways raise each year. Through the Labor Letters of Endorsement Program of the Department of Labor Participation, the AFL-CIO president asks presidents of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions, state federations and central labor councils to send letters endorsing United Way campaigns to their memberships. The Labor Letters of Endorsement Program encourages individual union members to volunteer their time and contribute their resources to United Way campaigns.

AFSCME Local 965 is an active participant in the University of Arkansas effort to solicit support for the United Way and the services that it provides to organizations in our community. Please give as generously as you are able in these difficult and uncertain times.

Organized labor is also part of the decision-making process at United Way of America. Currently, there are four AFL-CIO representatives serving on United Way of America's Board of Trustees, with two of them on the executive committee. There are four union trustees in the volunteer structure of United Way International. Unfortunately, the United Way of Northwest Arkansas has not invited any representatives of local unions to serve on its board, but we remain hopeful that the organization will someday recognize the contribution to be made by the hundreds of union members in Washington and Benton Counties.

In other areas of the nation, the United Way works with local unions to train union members to assist co-workers and their families with information about available local services and to refer them to the appropriate organizations; to recruit, train and help place members of organized labor on the decision-making bodies of health and human-service organizations; and to recognize labor leaders who have rendered outstanding United Way volunteer service by annually awarding the Joseph A. Beirne Community Services Award.

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