This Labor Day we celebrate the accomplishments of workers around the globe, but we also thank workers risking their lives on the front line during this global pandemic: from those working in hospitals and grocery stores to restaurants, factories and farms - the frontline heroes continue to serve our communities and keep our economy going. We are also keenly aware that this problem is not the only pandemic affecting America. African Americans are living in a racial pandemic and are desperately searching for a societal cure. With the most recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake (and countless others), UWW and labor has committed to working intentionally towards racial equity and justice.
This Labor Day our longstanding partnership with organized labor proves to be stronger than ever as we help communities and workers respond to and recover. We thank the local United Way Labor Staff network for their incredible response to local community needs from the very beginning of the pandemic. The AFL-CIO and United Way Community Partnership began after WWII with efforts to rebuild our communities. Now almost 80 years later, United Ways and labor are continuing to work together to tackle the toughest issues facing our communities. We understand the power of working together, and know that’s how we transform communities and create effective and sustainable change.
With more than 12.5 million union members represented by the AFL-CIO and their 55 union affiliates, labor is a powerful force for advocacy, volunteerism, dollars and driving impact. We also honor the labor movement’s policy contributions, like child labor laws and laws that promote reasonable hours and safety in the workplace.
“We are proud of our historic partnership with the AFL-CIO and organized labor. Thank you to all union members who have contributed with not only their hard earned money but with countless hours of volunteering and advocating to improve lives in our communities," says Suzanne McCormick, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide. “Working together, we are truly making a difference.”
Here are a few examples of labor’s partnership with United Way:
United Way of Greater Chicago collaborates with local trade unions to provide direct access to apprenticeship programs to people of color and women, those who have traditionally been excluded from these industries. Click here for more information about Access United.
United Way Greater Toronto partners with Toronto Community Benefits Network and labor to create community benefits agreements that foster economic inclusion by not only providing access to jobs, but also because the economic benefits go right back into that community.
United Way of Greater St. Louis helps provide transportation for recent graduates of the Building Union Diversity (BUD) program. With the support of a $5,000 donation from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield to the Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGC) education Fund, graduates are provided transportation coordinated by the United Way to their job site via LYFT.
United Way of the California Capital Region in Sacramento, in partnership with the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Building and Construction Trades Unions, is connecting community members with pre-apprentice programs that lead to good jobs.
In these divisive times, it’s more important than ever that we work together. In honor of Labor Day, United Way is launching a video of images of bridges from around the world. This symbolizes unity, and underscores the message, “We are better united than divided.”