As the holiday season sets in, we can’t help but think about our loved ones and how we will spend time with them during the season, but we should also remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Many people don’t have secure, decent paying jobs while others don’t even have a place to call home. Many families throughout the country don’t know how they will pay the bills this winter or buy winter clothing for their children, let alone be able to have money to spare on all the things that come along with the holiday season such as gifts, Christmas trees, treats, and turkeys or ham.
Our union has always believed in serving the communities where we live and not just during the holidays. We do this because we know that charity begins at home and “home” means more than our own four walls. It means the brothers and sisters we work with on the shop floor and their families. It means our neighbors and their families, too. It means the strangers we drive next to on the street and the people we see at the grocery store, the hardware store, and the gas station. What it comes down to is “home” means the communities we live in and the UAW has been supporting communities and caring for the people living in them since our founding 80 years ago. This is why we donate our time and money to charities whose purpose is to help those in need and this is why we start our own charity drives when we see a need that is not being met in our communities – our “home.” Where there’s a need, we’re there. But we aren’t just there during the holiday season, we are there throughout the year because “home” is a year-round commitment. That’s what makes us good neighbors and great union brothers and sisters.
As a union, we’re also mindful of the difficulties our own brothers and sisters at Local 833 who work at Kohler in Wisconsin, face as they fight for a fair and just contract. It’s gratifying to see the strong support they’ve received from other UAW brothers and sisters, members of other unions and the community. To support them through monetary or material donations, address your donation to:
Kohler UAW Local 833 Workers Relief Fund
c/o UAW Local 833
5425 Superior Ave.,
Sheboygan, WI 53083
Here are some of the other ways our brothers and sisters have recently made a difference:
All of the UAW locals in Region 1A in southeastern Michigan are partnering with a school close to them for the purpose of introducing students to the union culture and will be adding more schools to the union education roster in the future.
Local 373, which represents workers at Metaldyne in Litchfield, Michigan (Region 1D) ran food drives to ensure the local food pantry’s shelves are full and have donated money to the local Salvation Army.
Local 685 in Kokomo, Indiana, (Region 2B) had four goals when they laid the plans to build a Habitat for Humanity home: help a hero veteran achieve the “American Dream” of home ownership; bring together the membership with a grand project; build support from local, state and national leaders for the UAW’s cause; and show their community that the UAW is a caring partner in their city. After an amazing eight-day build, the local presented the keys to a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,700-square-foot home built with American-made materials and union-made appliances to an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, John Stewart, and his 10-year-old daughter, Bailey.
In Waterloo, Iowa, retirees of Local 838 (Region 4) put on a Thanksgiving dinner for several hundred needy families, an event they’ve been doing for over 30 years.
Brothers and sisters from Local 862 in Louisville, Kentucky (Region 8) are purchasing clothes and gifts for needy children. They also donated $32,000 to shop for underprivileged children in an Adopt-A-Child program. They will also be donating Boxes of Love (holiday meals) to 600 veteran families and another 400 families who are in need this holiday season.
Members of the Local 2250 Women’s Committee who work at the General Motors plant in Wentzville, Missouri (Region 5), built a house for Habitat for Humanity and the local was the main sponsor for Habitat for Humanity annual Christmas Party.
The Solidarity In Pink team out of UAW Region 9A raised nearly $2,500 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event for the American Cancer Society. The region had the most walkers ever for this annual event in Providence, Rhode Island and around the country.
Local 686 brothers and sisters who work at the General Motors Components Holding plant in Lockport, N.Y. (Region 9), hold a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich drive for hungry children, and puts on a Santa and pizza bowling party where kids and their parents can have fun together for a few hours during the holidays.
These are just a small sample of what our brothers and sisters do to help in the community. Yet, we can do more. There are countless ways to make your community a better place. Your local union is a good place to start. Attend meetings, ask questions, and find out what’s going on or if you have an idea on how to help people in your community, share your idea with your local union leaders. Become involved in your community through your local union. Show people what a union home looks like in 2016.
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