CAW Members Support United Way Campaigns

March 9, 2009, 3:41 PM EST

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CAW Local 1520 members and retirees have donated more than $400,000 to the local United Way, despite the very tough economy.

Dennis McGee, Local 1520 President and a member of the committee that raised nearly $403,000 from Ford employees, said in comparison to last year fundraising was tougher this year.

But McGee said the membership rose to the occasion and surpassed the committee's target for the year.

"Our members understand the issues out there and they understand the need in the community," McGee said. "They've always been generous."

Stan Szydlowski, Local 1520 financial secretary, has been on the fundraising committee for more than 10 years.  He said with layoffs at 1520 and the economy reeling in general it's still uplifting to realize so many people care.

Across the union CAW locals and members were actively engaged in helping local United Way campaigns. CAW President Ken Lewenza said if not for the United Way many community agencies established in response to community needs would fold. Lewenza said the CAW is determined to stop that from happening.

"None of us are immune," Lewenza said. "If not impacted directly in some way, we see the social damage caused by these problems on a daily basis. Increasing poverty, particularly among the youngest and oldest in society, is but one manifestation of this need. The lack of affordable housing and the ensuing crisis of homelessness is another. What are not so obvious perhaps are the other symptoms: violence, alienation, substance abuse, neglect, etc."

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