Imagine a world where every person in every community is given the resources, knowledge and opportunities they need to live healthy and happy lives. A world where health, education and financial stability aren’t out-of-reach options, but obtainable building blocks for a better life. This is the world United Way is fighting to create—but we aren’t doing it alone.
This Labor Day, as we reflect on the working men and women who serve as the backbone of America’s economy, let us also celebrate the important role labor unions play in the strengthening of communities. As the world’s largest, privately funded nonprofit in the world, our work would be impossible without the support of our labor partners who help us fight deeply rooted problems—from struggling schools to unemployment. Each year, millions of union members contribute volunteer hours, money and services to and through United Way in support of community betterment. And it’s making a real difference.
We are reminded of this support in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as Texas and Louisiana seek partners in their disaster relief efforts. Supporting communities during crises is nothing new for United Ways and our labor partners. To tackle the safe water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in 2016, members of the United Association of Journeyman, along with Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, worked with United Way of Genesee County to install free faucets and water filters for community residents in more than 800 homes. Labor members have been, and will continue to be, key players in our pursuit of community transformation.
Through our partnership with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFl-CIO), we will continue to rely on union members to help drive our community impact work. Integrating a union voice in our efforts ensures that communities are aware and focused on the issues and needs that are most important to working families, and that members of local unions have the chance to give back to their community. This Labor Day, we give thanks to our labor partners for helping us build a better tomorrow, today.