United Way-Labor Partnership Conference attendees enjoyed a “Labor Walk” through the streets of downtown Portland Aug. 16. The conference was held at the Benson Hotel in Portland Aug. 15-17.
Nationally, the AFL-CIO and United Way have worked together for the past 76 years. In Portland, Labor’s Community Service Agency and United Way of the Columbia-Willamette have worked together for the past 42 years.
The annual Labor Partnership Conference brings together labor liaisons and leaders, and staff and leadership from United Way organizations across the country. This year’s theme, “United We All Win,” underscored the power of community, and the importance of continuing to foster the relationship between the labor movement and United Way. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain participated in a special panel of labor leaders and United Way leaders, speaking about the importance of the partnership and how the work they do impacts our community.
United Way of the Columbia-Willamette was the catalyst for the Labor Walk. When Portland popped up on the schedule for a national conference, United Way approached Labor’s Community Services Agency. Executive Director Eryn Byram then reached out to Jim Cook, who heads up the Northwest Oregon Labor Council’s Labor History Committee, and is a vice president of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association. Cook jumped on board immediately to help make it happen.
So, on the evening of Aug. 16 a bunch of unionists and United Way’ers marched 1.7 miles through downtown Portland, hearing about its labor history from special guest speakers.