Donations needed to help union members struggling on strike pay
By TIM ROWDEN
Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm has donated $25,000 to the St. Louis Labor Council’s “$5 for the Fight” emergency relief fund to help union members in need – particularly members of the United Auto Workers on strike against General Motors.
Simmons Hanly Conroy, the largest plaintiff’s personal injury firm in the St. Louis area, represents workers and other victims of mesothelioma and asbestos related diseases.
Simmons is also a regular donor to the $5 for the Fight fund and has donated more than $175,000 to the fund in the past seven years, with an ongoing challenge for union members and friends of Labor to raise a $25,000 match each year.
Nearly 49,000 UAW workers across the country went on strike Sept. 15 after contract talks with General Motors broke down. The strike is impacting some 4,500 members of Local 2250 who work at the GM Assembly Plant in Wentzville, and they are starting to feel the pain.
Regular expenses for food, rent, mortgage and car payments don’t go away because you’re on strike. Kids still get hurt and need to see their doctor. The $250 a week strike pay from the union helps, but it doesn’t make up for a regular paycheck.
“We’ve already had a couple dozen requests from UAW members,” Labor Council President Pat White said. “They’re starting to feel it.”
FUND WAS STARTED TO HELP STRIKING WORKERS
The Fight Fund – originally the “Smack Mac Back” fund – was started by then Labor Council President Bob Kelley in 1996 to support Machinists striking against McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing), and continued as the “$5 for the Fight” fund to provide emergency assistance union members in need. Following Kelley’s passing last year, the fund was renamed the Robert J. Kelley $5 For the Fight Emergency Relief Fund but is still commonly known as “$5 for the Fight.”
White said anyone who wants to help striking auto workers directly can do so by making a contribution to the Fight Fund.
HOW TO DONATE
Donations to the “$5 for the Fight” Fund can be made by check or online.
• 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/5-for-the-fight.
One-hundred percent of each donation goes to “Fight Fund.” Efforts to promote and service the Fund are donated by the Labor Council, United Way and the Labor Tribune.