Why we give


A few years ago, two economists decided to test a theory. Jonathan Booth and Mark Williams wanted to know if there was a connection between membership in a union and charitable giving.

Their hypothesis was simple: Union workers are more likely to think about community behavior and believe in the value of collective action to create change.

For many of us it’s obvious that this theory must be true. Labor unions like this one actively encourage our partners to think of their friends and neighbors as part of their community, and to think about what values lift up our fellow workers.

And yet it wasn’t until just a few years ago that anyone thought to test this theory with hard data. So, using data collected from 1968 all the way until today, Booth and Williams tested their theory.

To the surprise of no one, they were correct. Union partners are more likely to donate to charity and when they do donate, they give nearly 30 percent more than the average non-union worker.

In short, unions emphasize the importance of thinking not just about our individual lives, but also about our communities as a whole. Local 655 prides itself on being a part of the community, and our partners hear us preach the value of collective action to achieve collective good.

Maybe it’s that deeply held principle or maybe it’s just that our hard-working partners are particularly generous, but in the last few years I have seen this union family make great strides as a charitable organization dedicated to a better life for all.

Last month, Local 655 hosted our Second Annual Community Skate Night at Skate King in Pine Lawn. The event is organized to benefit Faces of our Children, which fights Sickle Cell disease. We had more than 200 union members and community residents turn out. Thanks to those that joined the fun, as well as the hard work of our staff and volunteers, we raised more than $8,000 for our cause.

Next month, we’ll hold our 26th Annual Joe Pretti Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Last year we raised more than $70,000 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’m pleased to say I believe we will raise even more for LLS in 2019.

And in just a few short months we’ll be kicking off our 3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive. Last year was a success as hundreds of toys flowed into a community in need. As with all of our charitable giving, we plan on doing even more this year.

Of course, I could go on. But the fact of the matter is that while I am deeply proud of Local 655 and the hard work we do to raise money for good organizations doing critical work, we are merely part of a larger and much prouder legacy.

Labor unions don’t just lift up hard-working partners with better wages and benefits. We drive up wages and benefits for all workers. We build our communities because we know the value of the many standing up for one another.

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