The Labor food drive last week to support area food banks because of the coronavirus cancellation of the Boys Scouts annual Scouting for Food drive caps yet another incredible year of union members, families and unions charitable giving to support our regional community, not just at Christmas time, but in so many ways throughout the year.
This year, with only 26 of the several hundred locals in our region responding to the Labor Tribune annual charity-giving survey, these unions in the St. Louis/Southern Illinois region in 2020 donated $1,317,872 to aid 227 charities, religious groups and civic ventures, either with free manpower or actual cash donations to meet each organization’s special needs.
Over the past eight years, Labor’s “giving back” to our communities year ‘round is $14,525,049.
But wait, there’s more! In the annual drive among union offices – their staffs and officers –an additional $180,765 was donated to the United Way, donations separate and apart from those union members give to the United Way either during the annual fund campaign or via payroll deduction year ‘round.
During the past eight years, union offices and staff have donated $1,386,413.
EIGHT YEARS OF GIVING: $15,911,462
This brings total union charity donations from only a handful of responding unions and union staff over the past eight years of the Labor Tribune’s survey to an incredible $15,911,462 in free services and cash donations.
With over 300 locals in the bi-state metro area, think of what that actual total must be. The amount our unions give back to their communities is staggering!
THE RIGHT THING TO DO
That few people outside of the Labor Tribune readership, and those who directly benefit, even know of the on-going help our unions and members give their organizations is testimony to the fact that the unions do it not for public recognition, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s because “giving back” is ingrained in the DNA of what unions are all about!
ALWAYS READY TO HELP, ALWAYS
Although Christmas ends this week, for our unions the spirit of Christmas giving lasts all year-round in every community in Missouri.
Every day of every week and certainly on weekends, some union is helping a worthy organization reach its goals: A few highlights include:
Bricklayers Local 1 apprentices building deck for a paralyzed police officer; Building Trades chili cookoff to raise $5 for the Fight funds; Fire Fighters Local 2665 raising money for girl with a genetic disorder; IBEW Local 1 and Electrical Connection helping build St. Jude’s giveaway home; IBEW 309 retirees helping youth services home; Laborers Local 110 raising money for the Arnold Food Pantry; Laborers Local 42 helping fund campaign to fight drug abuse; Laborers Local 773’s food drive; Madison County unions providing snacks for overworked health care workers; Operating Engineers Local 513 providing winter coats for children in need; Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 and the Mechanical Contractors Association raising funds for Our Little Haven; Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 providing emergency ducting for hospitals; UAW Local 2250 taking an icy plunge for the Special Olympics; UFCW’s 655 and 88 raising Leukemia money.
These are only a few examples of the true heart of our unions and their members.
SPECIAL SECTION ON UNION GIVING
That’s why this special supplement has been created — to showcase only a small portion of the many stories we’ve published this past year highlighting the true heart and soul of our unions, our union members and leadership.
To all, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy New Year! Lord knows, we all certainly deserve it.
(Editor’s note: This story originally ran on the front page of the Labor Tribune’s special Christmas edition on Dec. 17.)