Labor Participation


Both locally and nationally, Labor and United Way are partners in making our community a better place in which to live, work, raise a family, and retire. The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) has a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United Way of Dane County which provides the framework for the AFL-CIO Community Services Program. This partnership has existed for more than fifty-five years.

United Way collaborates with local Labor Unions in the following areas:


  • Monetary gifts through Union members in workplace campaigns and from Union treasuries which provide direct financial support to United Way initiatives
  • Collection drives throughout the year for various items – books, socks, hygiene products – which meet immediate needs as identified by community partner agencies


  • Participation in the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin to both provide and gain knowledge and information on the ever-changing workforce
  • Extensive involvement with rapid response sessions for dislocated workers who face a job loss due to a downsizing or plant/company closure
  • Educational/informational sessions to provide updates on changes in Unemployment Insurance and the Fair Labor Standards Act


  • Union members serve on the UWDC Board of Directors and nearly every other team or committee, providing their expertise and perspective
  • Partner with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the Community Action Coalition on an annual basis for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive which is the largest single day collection of food both locally and nationally

Labor Participation – Legacy

The purpose of the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison Program is to create and foster a partnership between organized labor and United Way of Dane County. Emphasis is placed on community service through volunteerism, education, information/referral, and support of United Way. The AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison is also known as the Labor Liaison and is referred to as the Director of Labor Participation here at United Way.

Training Programs

The Labor Liaison develops training programs such as the sessions that are held for United Way funded agencies and community members to be trained about basic workers’ rights and responsibilities. Also, each year a statewide community services and education conference is put on for all AFL-CIO members, and specialized training is held in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Extension School for Workers and other community organizations.

Volunteer Recruitment

The Labor Liaison – in conjunction with the Community Services Committee of the South Central Federation of Labor – recruits Union volunteers for a variety of community service projects and programs that support the Agenda for Change, including:

  • United Way Days of Caring, which had over 2,000 volunteers in 2005
  • the Labor Day Red Cross Blood Drive held in conjunction with LaborFest at the Madison Labor Temple
  • the Reach Out to Kids Book Drive, which collected over 40,000 books in 2003
  • assistance for unemployed workers
  • volunteers for the United Way of Dane County Board of Directors, Vision Council, and the Community Solution Teams
  • monetary collections for food pantries each month at the Delegates’ Meeting of the South Central Federation of Labor

Campaign Participation

The Labor Liaison mobilizes the caring power of Union members to get them actively involved and participating in the United Way campaign. There are over ninety private sector campaign accounts at Unionized workplaces and about eighty percent of the public sector is Unionized. A Labor Campaign Cabinet Division Chair and Vice Chair are recruited to help with this process.

For more information about Labor Participation, please contact Ann McNeary at (608) 246-4355 or

Labor Participation