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Tri-Cities labor unions step up partnership with United Way

KENNEWICK (Oct. 18, 2019) — Labor leaders in the Tri-Cities area decided to deepen the partnership between the United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, the Southeast Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC), and Central Washington Building Trades to “advance the common good through increased community engagement opportunities for Union members and their families to actively volunteer and support our community.”

They organized a special Union Breakfast on Wednesday at the United Way building in Kennewick to discuss that effort and raise money for the United Way — and the local labor community responded big time. They had a great turnout and raised nearly $10,000 at the event. Because the cost of the breakfast was underwritten by the Southeast Central Labor Council, all of those proceeds go directly to United Way-funded community programs.

“The Tri-Cities labor community really stepped up for our community with their generous support of this event,” said Russell Shjerven, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 839 in Pasco. “We look forward to strengthening our working relationship with United Way so we can continue to help local families in need.”

April Sims, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s breakfast. She shared that it was work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that brought her grandfather to Washington state and paved the way to bring her family to Seattle.

“The United Way and unions have a rich history and heritage of caring for people and communities,” Sims said, “because we know that what’s good for workers is good for families, and what’s good for families is good for communities, and what’s good for communities is good for businesses. We need more partnerships like the labor movement and the United Way to improve lives and create thriving communities, communities where workers and families have dignity and live free from fear.”

That echoes the sentiment of Tri-Cities labor leaders.

“Here in the Tri-Cities, United Way and the Labor movement share a common vision of prosperous, inclusive, diverse and safe communities, where every member of the community has access to a quality public education, fair wages, productive work opportunities and accessible, affordable, quality health care,” reads their letter inviting union members to attend Wednesday’s event. That letter was signed by:

Randy Walli, Business Manager, UA 598

Jesus Alvarez, President, Southeast Central Labor Council, Teamsters Local 839

Kayne Segura, Business Manager, Laborers Local 348

Kolby Hanson, Business Manager-FST, Sheet Metal Workers Union Local #55

Jeff McDaniel, President, HAMTC

Russel Shjervan, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 839

Nickolas A. Bumpaous, President, Central Washington Building Trades Council

Eric Renner, President, UFCW 1439

Travis Swayze, Business Manager, IBEW 112

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