United Way of Greater Kansas City is stepping up to support members of Local United Auto Workers Union 31, who are currently not working at the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan. as a result of a parts shortages created by an ongoing strike at other General Motors facilities.
United Way is authorizing special funding to assist auto workers in two critical ways. First, in collaboration with Impact 100 partner Harvesters—The Community Food Network, 4200 lbs. of food is being purchased to fully restock the UAW Local 31 food pantry. Second, United Way is creating a fund with another Impact 100 partner, Working Families Friend, to stand up emergency financial assistance (i.e. rent, utilities, etc.) for individuals and families affected by the current work stoppage.
“These are tumultuous and confusing times for our workers,” said Dontay Wilson, UAW Local 31 president. “To have a friend like United Way of Greater Kansas City that has been there for years not just for this community, but Local UAW 31 specifically, gratitude doesn’t tip the scales for how we feel.”
Both General Motors and Local UAW 31 are consistently among the most philanthropic organizational donors to United Way in our region for dollars pledged during their annual United Way campaigns, corporate grants issued, and volunteer time given to partner organizations.
“When news broke about the situation with our local auto workers, we immediately created a crisis plan to respond to their most critical needs,” said Todd Jordan, PhD, United Way vice
president of community impact and 211 executive director. “United Way is a community convener, and we are proud of our ability to continually bring people and resources together to answer our community’s call and provide real-time solutions to everyday challenges our neighbors face.”
In addition to providing food and financial assistance for impacted workers, United Way is also connecting Local UAW 31 with volunteer opportunities. Staff from General Motors corporate recently volunteered with United Way Impact 100 partner Avenue of Life. Local UAW 31 members are helping out at the Community Market of United Way Impact 100 partner Cross-Lines Community Outreach in Kansas City, Kan.
“We give back with our wallets, our energy and our efforts to help out when we can. What we’re given, it has to be reciprocated,” Wilson said. “We’re not getting state unemployment benefits, but we do have funds providing strike pay. So our members realize while their brothers and sisters down the road are fighting for fair pay, we want to show up for them in the community. United Way’s always been there for us. Our members know that and they want to be able to chip in and do our part.”
ABOUT UNITED WAY:
At United Way of Greater Kansas City, our mission is to inspire and enable a movement of Waymakers (what we call our change agents) to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every member of our community. We do this by: mobilizing people and resources and investing them in the highest-impact nonprofits and programs addressing community need in all six counties; and by engineering smart, sustainable solutions both short- and long-term community challenges in collaboration with the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Every year, one in three Kansas Citians find help through the United Way, and we continue to develop new and innovative ways to connect residents to the services, support and resources they need.
ABOUT LOCAL UAW 31:
UAW Local 31 proudly represents over 7000 active and retired workers, producing the award-winning Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac XT4 at the General Motors Kansas City Fairfax Assembly Plant. We at Local 31 are dedicated to the UAW’s guiding principles that promote union activism for the purpose of rebuilding the American class by raising living standards for all American workers. Local 31 recently celebrated its 80th anniversary. It became a chartered Local of the UAW on March 4, 1942.