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Labor Inner Banner Hands stacked together

Bill Jakobi 

Organized labor and United Way of Greater Niagara work together to make Niagara County a better place to live and work for all. To get involved please contact:

William Jakobi
AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison
716-731-4580 ext. 208

[email protected]

Organized Labor and the United Way:

Union Yes check markA Partnership that works for our Community

For over 75 years, the United Way and Organized Labor have been working together to better our communities we live and work in. The AFL/CIO Labor Liaison helps keep the partnership going between labor and the United Way. This partnership started back in the depression days where there were massive economic shifts that occurred in our nation. These economic shifts removed a ladder of opportunity and replaced it with a deepening well of dependence where workers and their families must rely on the goodwill of others to survive. Dedicated leadership and creative approaches were needed to bring forth a new labor vision within our communities.

The mission of the AFL/CIO is to improve the lives of working families, to bring economic justice to the workplace, and social justice to our nation. Through a relationship between United Way and our local AFL/CIO we developed new and existing relationships between and among workers, unions and community organizations. This program recognizes that strong ties form the basis for building strong working communities and a strong labor movement. This building of a stronger communities takes place when workers and working communities make a personal investment of their time and talents as well as other financial resources to the effort.

Union Workers in crowd holding american flagA community’s primary responsibility is its’ people. It must be prepared to meet those social needs that individuals or families cannot meet, or meet adequately, with their own resources. Unions and the United Way work together to strengthen the community by raising standards of living and encouraging participation in the development of an environment that supports the community. The AFL/CIO Community Services Program provides the opportunity for the United Way to expand their operations to reach the agencies and their programs that are the most in need. Through the United Way they can determine the greatest needs throughout the community. Three focus areas of the United Way are: education, financial stability, and financial stability, health and wellness. Programs and services are put in place to help meet the highest needs. We can bring a better understanding of the United Way through educating on the process that the United Way uses to distribute their funding throughout the community. In return, better understanding will help achieve greater support.

The partnership between United Way and Labor is designed to help build a strong vibrant community that supports workers and their families and provides dignity and respect on the job as well as in the community. This partnership will continue to grow through the AFL/CIO Community Services Program.

United Way Labor logo and partnership graphic

Some accomplishments of the AFL/CIO Niagara Orleans Labor Council were many:

  1. AFL/CIO Workers Memorial Monument: Since 1992 this monument has been a tribute to the workers of our community who lost their lives due to work related injuries or illness. Each year more and more people come to the annual service to visit this memorial monument. United Way is a supporter of labor’s effort to make this Workers Memorial Monument a reality.
  2. AFL/CIO Harry S. Jordan Scholarships: For the past 34 years the Niagara Orleans Labor Council has been presenting scholarships to high school students and students continuing their education. The labor movement truly does believe in helping today’s youth with giving them an opportunity for a better future.
  3. Special Event to benefit the United Way of Greater Niagara: AFL/CIO Niagara Orleans Central Labor Council presents it's Annual Labor’s Night at the Races: Over the past 12 year’s this fundraising event has raised over $136,000 that help the United Way and its program providers, so they can continue to provide the services to those in need throughout the Niagara County Community. Through the help of all our sponsors, union affiliates and friends of labor this event has had great success.