Celebrating Labor in Our Community

We thank you this Labor Day.

By Angie Matthiessen

This year we celebrate the kick-off of the 80th anniversary of the United Way & Labor Partnership.  Due to social distancing requirements, many traditional outdoor celebrations, parades and community service opportunities are not happening.  However, we celebrate labor and essential workers who have carried our communities through this pandemic on the frontlines more than ever.  From those working in hospitals and grocery stores to restaurants, factories and farms, law enforcement, fire and EMT we applaud those who faithfully serve our community.

Labor Day is an annual national celebration of the contributions working people and the labor movement have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the U.S. The tradition of Labor Day goes back to the 1800s. Over the decades, the holiday has evolved to celebrate new groups of people, all striving to provide for themselves and their communities. We honor workers, especially frontline workers who are taking risks during the coronavirus pandemic to keep economies going, as well as the partnership between labor unions and United Way.

United Way and the labor movement go way back, with a partnership that continues to build stronger communities across America. We first came together right after World War II, as an innovative way to rebuild our nation. We looked different back then, but our shared passion for building a better world was evident from the start. We even had a different name back then:   Community Chests and Councils.

Today we honor those who give their all to build up our community. Because of you our community is safe and strong.

We see you. We support you. We thank you.

It’s fitting that as we celebrate labor in our community, we recognize Publix associates and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). For over 40 years, Publix and United Way have had a strong bond. They begin their employee campaign, raising dollars to support the work of their local United Way, at the beginning of this month, for which we are so grateful. We exist to serve Charlotte County, but we could not do it without the hardworking and good folks at Publix Super Markets.

If you think about our ALICE population, many of them have multiple family members working or they themselves work two or more jobs or at least they were working pre-COVID. The pandemic has really crippled their financial household budget. Every day, we receive phone calls in our office for those who are struggling to reach their full potential. While they have multiple stressors in the home, we can help by serving up an extra portion of grace and patience.

UWCC proudly stands with these hard-working men and women in the United States and all around the world. Hard work and the pursuit of greater opportunity should be recognized and supported no matter who you are or where you grew up. 

That’s what we celebrate on Labor Day, and what we fight for every day. Join us to show your support and recognize all workers who are essential parts of the communities that your local United Way of Charlotte County serves.

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission: Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty please contact Angie Matthiessen, the Executive Director of United Way of Charlotte County. She can be reached at director@unitedwayccfl.org or at 941-627-3539.