As Labor worked this weekend to collect food items for local food banks, the ongoing long-term crisis among union families caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown will continue at a crushing rate through the holidays and well into next year.
In response, the Greater St. Louis Labor Council is urging every working union member and retiree to make a special donation to the $5 for the Fight Fund to help union members and their families in need.
The Fight Fund provides emergency help to buy food, avoid evictions, provide temporary housing, keep the heat on and pay for medical bills and prescriptions. The United Way of Greater St. Louis, which administers the Fund for the Labor Council, also provides referrals to United Way agencies for union members and their families in need of specialized support.
Every penny from every donation goes to the Fight Fund. When union families are facing crisis, the Fight Fund intervenes, writing checks and negotiating payments directly with landlords, suppliers and service providers. Recipients don’t receive any payments directly.
“The long-term impact of COVID-19 has forced millions out of work and from the looks of it, will continue to do for the foreseeable future until the pending vaccine is widely available,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council. “From all indications, it will be a year before vaccinations begin to impact our economy allowing people to go back to work, so we have to make sure our Fight Fund is there for our members.”
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE FUND HAS HELPED
Here are a few of the recent examples of how the Fight Fund has helped union members in need:
- • A maintenance technician who works in the downtown area – a single parent with children ages four to 16 years old – had her hours cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced her income. When she received a shut-off notice from the electric company, the Fight Fund was used to stop the disconnection.
- • An essential employee at a leading area hospital left a voice message on the Labor Help Line stating that her electricity was scheduled to be shut-off that day. A Labor Representative was able to reach the member and advise her of Missouri’s Cold Weather Rule, which protect customers, under certain conditions, from being disconnected in the winter months. The $5 for the Fight Fund assisted in getting her on a payment plan with the utility company.
- • A building tradesman had a court date for overdue rent and knew he would not have enough money in time as his roommate had recently moved out. His landlord offered him a payment arrangement, and a check from the $5 for the Fight Fund helped him avoid court action and eviction.
HERE’S HOW TO HELP
Donations to the $5 for the Fight Fund can be made by check or online. One hundred percent of each donation goes directly to the Fund. You can donate in these ways:
- 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.
- Online – Visit https://labortribune.com/5-for-the-fight to make a secure one-time donation or an automatic monthly deduction.
- Schnucks eScrip program – This is “free money,” as Schnucks donates a percentage of your purchase to the Fight Fund. It doesn’t cost you a thing. You can pick up an eScrip card at your local Schnucks store.
Remember, 100 percent of donation goes into the Fight Fund. All efforts to promote and service the Fund are donated by the Labor Council, the United Way and the Labor Tribune.
Please consider making a donation today.
Need help? The Fight Fund is here for you
If you’re in need of emergency financial help, please don’t be too proud to ask for assistance. Getting help from the $5 for the Fight Fund is as easy as picking up the phone. Here’s how it works:
• Call the Labor Participation Department at United Way and leave a message on the Labor Assistance Line at 314-539-4189.
• Confirm your membership – The United Way Labor Liaison will call your union to confirm that you are a union member in good standing.
• Assessment – Once your union membership is confirmed and your needs have been assessed, the Labor Liaison will research available resources and determine whether assistance is needed from the Fight Fund.
• Payment – If assistance is appropriate, the Labor Liaison will request a payment from the St. Louis Labor Council’s $5 For the Fight Fund made directly to the union member’s mortgage company, landlord or utility companies, etc. to prevent further action.