United Way

Most of us know about the United Way and the various community organizations they assist across the country but did you know that the United Way has had so much support from Unions in Alberta over the years that they have 2 full-time labour liaisons in Alberta? In fact, the United Way and Labour have been involved together since 1942 when Elmer Ernest Roper, then President of the Edmonton and District Labour Council, signed the original “Community Chest Agreement” with the Chamber of Commerce to form The Community Chest – forerunner to the United Way.

The Edmonton liaison position was originally created in 1978, and Calgary’s liaison position was created in February of 2011. They are both kept very busy coordinating efforts in fund raising, education and working with numerous community groups across the province for the United Way, often working with unions and the many different workplaces their members work in.

Next to the government, the United Way is the largest funder of the voluntary sector and social services in Canada, raising upwards of $480 million each year to improve the social conditions of Canadians. This is made possible by the many people who support their local United Way by donating directly from their pay cheque every week through the payroll deduction program and other fundraising initiatives. It’s estimated that in Edmonton, roughly $80,000 is raised every year by the generosity of unionized workers. And across the province, unionized workers raise approximately 40% of the total that the Alberta Capital Region for United Way raises each year! Evidence that higher union wages means more than just the worker themselves reap the benefit.

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General Information – Alberta

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