United Way Newsletter
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UNITED WAY IN ACTION: SUPPORTING DISLOCATED WORKERS
In February, our community celebrated when GM announced that it will invest $425 million in the Tonawanda Powertrain plant for the Ecotech engine, a move that will preserve nearly 500 local jobs. In late April, GM announced yet another substantial investment - $400 million, for the Generation V engine - that will save or create more than 700 jobs.
During the February announcement, Steve Finch, plant manager and UWBEC Board member, commended the UAW workers for their hard work and dedication to the community. Finch cited a number of their efforts including their generous contribution to the United Way annual Campaign.
While we celebrate the tremendous success of our local Powertrain plant, there are many local companies that are not faring as well. Mary Martino, United Way’s Director of Labor Relations, serves on the New York State Department of Labor’s Erie County Rapid Response Team, which offers support to employees who lose their jobs to layoffs and closings. Last year, Mary and the team assisted employees at 47 local companies. Working closely with management, union officials, and employees of these facilities, Martino sees the difficult effects of the closings on a regular basis.
The United Way Labor Department offers support and assistance to those facing layoffs and company closings. A United Way representative is available during all shifts to help displaced workers access food, social service programs, mortgage and rental assistance, and counseling programs through United Way partner agencies. Guidance through the Department of Labor, Erie County One Stops and various educational and training programs is also made available.
“One thing is certain,” Martino said. “We need to continue to raise funds for these programs in our community. Far too many people who have been staunch United Way supporters now need our help.”