By ED FINKELSTEIN
The St. Louis Labor Council’s union member-support $5 for the Fight Fund is broke.
The emergency fund for union members, overseen by the United Way of Greater St. Louis, has received an unprecedented number of calls for help over the past three months, depleting all but $420 in the fund as of Labor Tribune press time.
And there are scores of union families still waiting for help!
The Labor Council and United Way have issued a desperate appeal to all working union members to please contribute whatever they can to help the families of these union brothers and sisters in need.
Even with the holidays approaching and other demands on union members’ resources, your help is desperately needed to help our union brothers and sisters facing financial catastrophe.
Despite media reports and political boasting about low unemployment, plant closings, a lack of full-time hours, low wages in some sectors and family health concerns have affected many union families. The need for help is skyrocketing, and winter is closing in.
• In the first seven months of 2017, the Fight Fund averaged of 34 requests for help union members/families a month.
• In the past three months, the need has skyrocketed, with an average of 57 members/families calling for help each month!
EXAMPLES OF DESPERATE NEED
It’s not just union families that are out of work who are turning to the Fight Fund. Many members are working but are facing desperate health or financial issues beyond their control. A few examples provided by the United Way:
• A skilled tradesman and father of six, whose wife has serious health issues requiring ongoing medical care. Their home was foreclosed on and they are living in a relative’s trailer home.
• A single dad raising his three children ages 8,10 and 12 is homeless and between jobs. All three children have special needs including Down Syndrome, severe asthma and ADHD. Dad also has health issues and is desperately awaiting a medical release so he can get back to work.
• A union member out-of-work due to plant closing. He and his wife have four children, ages 5-11. They are two months behind on their rent and their landlord has started the eviction process.
• Dad and mom union members with part-time hours. They have five children, ages 4-13, including two sets of twins, and are facing utility disconnections on gas, electric and water.
• A grandmother who is a school bus driver with health issues that have caused her to miss quite a bit of work. She is the sole breadwinner for her two grandchildren and called when her water had been shut-off and was she facing disconnection on her electric.
• A mom who works evenings for a commercial building cleaning contractor. She is the main financial support for her teenage daughter with disabilities, a 20-year old daughter who is pregnant, and five-year-old great-nephew. She called the Fight Fund when her electricity was shut off.
• A single dad raising two children, who works at a manufacturing company. His sister, who is battling cancer, moved in with him with her four children. He is struggling financially and emotionally. He called the Fight Fund when his gas and electric were about to be shut off and he was behind on his rent.
These are just a few of the union member families you can help with a donation to the Fight Fund.
302 FAMILIES HELPED SO FAR
This year to date, the $5 for the Fight Fund has provided $77,365.77 in critical financial help for 302 families in need – payouts that have completely depleted funds to help the families still needing help.
Monies are not provided to individuals. The payouts go directly to pay for rent, housing, medical expenses, transportation and other needs. The bulk of this year’s payments have gone to pay rent for union members who are presently out of work.
If you can help, please write a check now, for whatever you can afford, to “$5 for the Fight.” Your donation will help a union member in need.
HOW TO DONATE
Donations to the “$5 for the Fight” Fund can be made by check, online or through the Schnucks eScrip program. Here’s how to donate:
• Mail a check or money order to “$5 for the Fight,” c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044. Please include your union affiliation.
• To make an online donation, visit labortribune.com and click “$5 for the Fight” Donations in the right-hand column. An option to create a Reoccurring Automated Donation is also available.
• The Schnucks eScrip program is “free money” for the Fight Fund; it doesn’t cost you a penny to participate. Just pick up a free eScrip card at your local Schnucks. When you show it at checkout, Schnucks will donate a percentage of your purchase to the Fight Fund. The amount varies with your monthly purchases: one percent for the first $300; two percent from $301-$600; and three percent from $601- $999.
If you already have a Schnucks eScrip Card, you can add the Fight Fund to your existing card by calling 1-800-931-6258 and adding “St. Louis Labor Council-5 for the Fight” to the organizations you want to support. You can designate up to three organizations to get the funding as long as the group is registered with Schnucks to participate.
This is easy money for the Fight Fund, and it won’t cost you a dime. To date, $2,399.73 has been raised for the Fight Fund from the eScrip program.
If you can contribute, in any amount, please do so.
“Thank you” for agreeing that “we share because we care for one another.”
$5 for the Fight Honor Roll
An Honor Roll of $5 for the Fight contributors is published periodically in the Labor Tribune.
There are nine categories of giving:
• Apprentice – $1 to $12/ George Washington Honor Roll.
• Journeyman – $13-50/Andrew Jackson Honor Roll.
• Steward – $51-$99/ Ulysses S. Grant Honor Roll
• Chief Steward – $100 +/Ben Franklin Honor Roll.
• Job Foreman – $500+ / William McKinley Honor Roll.
• General Foreman – $1,000 +/ Grover Cleveland Honor Roll.
• Major Donors – $2,500 +
• In Memoriam – to honor a loved one or friend or fellow union member.
If your gift moves you from one category to another, your name will automatically move into the appropriate honor roll.
One hundred percent of each donation goes to the “Fight Fund.” All efforts to promote and service the Fund are donated by the Labor Council, the United Way and the Labor Tribune.