United Way and Labour Partnership Year in Review

Working for change

The right connection can change everything.

Like United Way, unions and their members are essential to the health of our community. And like you, we know every community faces challenges. That’s why we’re here. We connect people to help make our communities and our workplaces better for everyone.

Together, United Way and the labour movement are tackling some of the biggest problems we have as a society. Thanks to support from the labour movement, United Way has built a strong social network of programs and services in our communities to help those in need.

Verdann a program co-ordinator with Taj, a studentFor kids like eight-year-old Taj, this means giving them the opportunity to connect with mentors like Verdann. As a child Verdann wasn’t safe at home. “I genuinely believed I wasn’t going to live to where I am today,” says Verdann. Then she found an after-school program where Aboriginal, immigrant and inner-city kids gain confidence, connections, and skills through play. Verdann now leads this United Way School’s Out program. She is an inspiration for kids like Taj.

For seniors like Angie, that means helping them stay active and engaged in their community. Angie struggled with declining health, on a low income, alone. “Never would I have thought life might turn out this way,” Angie says. Then Angie joined a United Way-supported Seniors Active Aging program that offers free outings for isolated seniors, with door-to-door pick up and drop off. “The outings are precious to me,” she says Angie. “You’re giving people their lives back.”

For Verdann, Taj and Angie, the right connection changed everything. The same is true in workplaces. Through the Labour Community Advocates program, United Way and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Partnership work together to improve the lives of working people. Trained by the United Way CLC Labour Participation Department, Labour Community Advocates help connect their fellow workers to community resources as well as provide peer support to individuals coping with workplace, personal or family challenges. Advocates share United Way’s values and work to make their communities better.

“I’m passionate about making my community stronger,” says Luis Gonzales from MoveUP. “Through the Labour Community Advocates program, I learned how to do that. As well, I have built a network of union members and activists across the Lower Mainland and around the province to help me with this goal.”

We all share in the responsibility to create neighbourhoods and communities that we are proud to call home. “Union members don’t just make their workplaces a better place to work, they also make the communities they live and work in happier and healthier,” says Nikki Hill, Director, United Way of the Lower Mainland Labour Participation Department.



Learn how to change the world at the 2018 CLC Pacific Region Winter School

Labour Community Advocacy training at United Way of the Lower Mainland June 2017.

Labour Community Advocacy training at United Way of the Lower Mainland June 2017.

The United Way and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Labour Partnership offer programs dedicated to supporting your union and your fellow union members and strengthening your community. Offered at the 2018 CLC Pacific Region Winter School, the Labour Community Advocates program teaches union members about the personal and social issues faced by individuals in workplaces and society and how to address them.

2018 schedule
The following courses will be offered by the United Way of the Lower Mainland Labour Participation Department.

Labour Community Advocates – Level 1
Advocates are often the first contact for co-workers facing challenges of a personal or professional nature and are a valuable resource within any union. Course participants are trained in communication skills, interviewing and referral techniques so they can assist union members in need. This training helps workers find effective solutions and community support for issues outside the scope of their collective agreements.

Labour Community Advocates – Level 2
Union members are educated about social issues faced by working people and the resources available in their community to help individuals deal with the personal, workplace or family challenges they are experiencing. Advocates deepen their knowledge about the various social issues and explore the creation of a Labour Community Advocate program in their union.

Level 1 training must be completed before registering for Level 2.

Unions in the Community
The labour movement has always played a strong role in the social change movement. This course provides training on community involvement and working with community partners as a board, committee, or coalition partner. Participants learn how to organize around and participate in community social service issues, while exploring the ways in which unions and other labour bodies can help build resilient and respectful communities.

The United Way of the Lower Mainland CLC Labour Participation Department is available to provide these courses at your union convention or training events. Contact us at labourinfo@ulwm.ca.



Celebrate community activism


2017 Labour Appreciation Dinner

2016 Community Service Award honourees: Chuck Puchmayr, George Davison and Ellen Woodsworth.Come celebrate the contributions of your friends and colleagues who are strengthening their unions and changing the lives of others in our communities on November 30 between 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

Join us for the United Way, the Vancouver & District Labour Council and New Westminster & District Labour Council 24th Annual Labour Appreciation Night at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver where you’ll meet our 2017 Award winners.

For more details and to buy tickets online, visit our Labour Appreciation Dinner page. Contact labourinfo@uwlm.ca or 604.268.1320 for more information.


Labour United Award – Spirit Awards 2017

MoveUp members with 2017 Labour United Award.For decades, MoveUP members, staff and leadership have been leaders helping workplaces across British Columbia to run joint, large-scale United Way campaigns. In addition, members have served on United Way’s Board and Cabinet. MoveUp was recognized for their commitment to our community with the Labour United Award at Spirit Awards in February.

MoveUP is a diverse, progressive, member-driven organization representing almost 12,000 people at public and private sector companies across Western Canada.

The Award is sponsored by United Steelworkers.




National Partnership Builder Award

Steve Hunt accepts 2017 National Partnership Builder Award on behalf of USW District 3.United Steelworkers District 3 is the recipient of the 2017 National Partnership Builder Award, which recognizes the commitment of United Way and the labour movement working together to mobilize collective energy for the good of our communities.

Awarded biennially at the United Way Centraide Conference, the Award is presented to an individual or organization embodying the principles of the United Way and Labour Movements, including diversity, resource development, community engagement and leadership. District 3 Director, Steve Hunt accepted the Award.



United for BC Wildfire Recovery

With wildfires devastating British Columbia this summer, United Ways across Canada are banding together to help those affected. Many in the Labour community from unions locals to labour councils stepped up, and continue to help. United Steelworkers have donated $41,000 from their Humanitarian Fund towards wildfire recovery and rebuilding.

“Recovery and rebuilding will look different for each community as well as each individual and family. It might be as simple as cleaning out a fridge, or as intensive as re-building a home from scratch or dealing with depression as a result of trauma. What will be the same for everyone is the fear and uncertainty that such a crisis brings,” says Danalee Baker, Executive Director of United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo.

As part of a provincial initiative, United Way is working in collaboration with the Red Cross, local municipalities, regional districts and Emergency Operations Centres on coordinated efforts through Social Recovery Task Forces.

For more information, visit www.unitedforbcwildfires.ca.



Tampon Tuesday: Your help is needed. Period.

Neelam Sahota of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society and Nikki Hill of United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Neelam Sahota of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society and Nikki Hill of United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Periods are a fact of life and feminine hygiene products are expensive, especially for low-income families. This International Women’s Day our labour partners thought outside the tampon box and led a drive to collect feminine hygiene products. An incredible total of 18,473 pads, tampons, and Lunapads were collected to help people in need, donated by the members and employees at the BC Federation of Labour and CLC Pacific Region, CUPE 402, ILWU, CUPE 1760, HEU, FPSE, IATSE 891, IBEW 213, MoveUP, Vancity and Unifor 4275, as well as other local organizations and individuals. These products were distributed to United Way partner agencies, expanding the wide range of supports you offer women on their paths from poverty to possibility.

Tampon Tuesday will be back in March 2018 with increased presence from community and labour partners as we work together to provide those in need with this important hygiene product.


Need information? Want to register for an event? Contact United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Labour Participation Department

Jeanne MacDonald, General enquiries

Carlos Carvalho, Labour Staff Representative

Nikki Hill, Director
604.294.8929 ext. 1329

Tracy GreenYear in review