By TIM ROWDEN
Generous individuals and organizations in the Greater St. Louis area contributed an unprecedented $75,055,451 to help their neighbors through this year’s Greater St. Louis United Way campaign. That’s most ever in the agency’s history and is thanks, in large part, to the contributions of Labor, both in monetary contributions and in rallying with St. Louis businesses and residents to raise funds.
In fact, Organized Labor was called out for special recognition at a recent campaign victory celebration at the St. Louis Science Center where United Way 2016 co-chairs Steven Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare, and Gene Diederich, partner with Moneta Group, made the announcement that the campaign had reached and exceeded its fundraising goal.
“It truly takes a collective effort to make United Way’s campaign successful,” Diederich said. “It takes all of us, on both sides of the river, from labor unions to companies big and small to households throughout our region to make this campaign happen.
“Steve and I have had an amazing team working tirelessly with us. We would like to thank everyone who served on our campaign cabinet. This cabinet includes two groups who are a special part of United Way’s campaign, the leadership giving societies and Labor representatives.”
LABOR VOLUNTEERS RECOGNIZED
That recognition was extended at last month’s meeting of Greater St. Louis Labor Council delegates, where Labor liaisons Roz Sherman Voellinger and Amy Phillips presented certificates of recognition to Labor’s many volunteers who served on the 2016 United Way Board of Directors or on the various allocation panels that help evaluate benefiting organizations.
Among those recognized for their service on the board of directors were:
- David Cook, president, UFCW Local 655 – Labor Co-Chair
- Pat White, president, St. Louis Labor Council – Labor Co-Chair
- Don Willey, business manager, Laborers Local 110
- Lisa Gould, benefit fund manager, SEIU Local 1 MO Benefit Trust
- John O’Mara, business manager, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562
- Keith Linderer, business manager, Operating Engineers Local 148
- Kevin McNatt, president, UNITE HERE Local 74
- Mark Conner, directing business representative, Machinists Dist. 9
- Mark Woolbright, vice president, International Association of Fire Fighters 2nd District
- Mike Goebel, executive secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 688
- Mike Mehringer, president, CWA Local 6300
- Nancy Cross, vice president, SEIU Local 1
- Van Simpson, president, UAW Local 2250
- John Becker, recording secretary, Teamsters Local 688
- Mike Murphy, union representative and organizer, SEIU Local 1
- Mark Staffne, business representative, IBEW Local 1439
Among those recognized for serving on allocations panels were:
- Mark Johnson, executive vice president, CWA Local 6300
- Ken Truemper, retiree, Graphic Communicators Conference-International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 6-505
- Jeffrey Spraul, shop steward, CWA Local 6300
- Lisa Gould, SEIU Local 1 MO Benefit Trust
- Karen Settlemoir-Berg, union representative, UFCW Local 655
- Reggie Summers, Operating Engineers Local 148
- Jim Kolve, Missouri AFL-CIO Dislocated Worker Program
- Karen Krshul, administrative assistant, IBEW Local 1455
- Gary Otten, political director, Painters District Council 58
‘LABOR PLAYED A HUGE ROLE’
Noting the $75,055,451 fundraising total, Sherman Voellinger said “Labor played a huge role in that. We really can’t thank you all enough.”
It’s hard to quantify exactly how much Labor gives to the United Way, Sherman Voellinger said, because so much of what individual members contribute through payroll deductions is attributed through their employers.
“So much in terms of union members gets calculated in with the company where they worked,” Sherman Voellinger said.
Just in terms of union offices and staff and friends of Labor such as Labor law offices, Sherman Voellinger said this year’s contributions exceeded $175,000.
That doesn’t include the large number of workplace campaigns Labor was involved in organizing, including new workplace campaigns this year at the Pepsi plant (organized by Teamsters Local 688), Allied Health (organized by Machinists Lodge 1345) and Frontier Communications (organized by Communications Workers of America Local 6300).
“Those were all new campaigns that came through the unions through their outreach in helping us,” Sherman Voellinger said.
WHERE YOUR DONATIONS GO
The United Way helps one in three people throughout the bi-state region through 170 local health and human services groups in 16 Missouri and Illinois counties.
In Missouri, the United Way provides assistance to individuals and organizations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, Warren, and Lincoln counties.
In Illinois, the agency provides assistance in Calhoun, Green, Macoupin, Jersey, Madison, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties.
United Way and Organized Labor share a history of partnership dating back to World War II. Helping to build a healthier community is not only a union tradition – it’s the mission of United Way.
Five union members are employed as Labor Liaisons at United Way of Greater St. Louis. Labor leaders also serve on the United Way Executive Board, Regional Auxiliary Boards and Allocation Committees and coordinate community service projects and volunteer at United Way agencies.
To make a donation or to schedule a United Way Labor Liaison to speak at your union meeting or workplace, call Labor Liaison Roz Sherman Voellinger at 314-539-4193. For more information about United Way or to make an online donation, visit stl.unitedway.org. If you want your donation credited as coming from a union member, contact Sherman Voellinger at 314-539-4193.