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Awards presented to labor community members by United Way


NOVEMBER 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Awards presented to labor community members by United Way


REGION, October 19th- The United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Labor Participation Department presented the “Unsung Labor Hero Awards” at their recently held annual United Way Kick-Off event. The award is the way the organization recognizes those union members who provides special assistance in a vaiety of ways to the agencies of the Wyoming Valley United Way and the community at-large.

According to Walter Klepaski, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) United Way of Wyoming Valley Community Services Liaison, this years three recipients of the Unsung Labor Hero Award personify and serve as an example of the great monetary and voluntary work humbly being done throughout the area by the labor community.

Mr. Klepaski added he hopes that the award serves as a way to show that the time and effort being put forth by members of organized labor in supporting their community is not going unnoticed by him and the United Way.

This year’s recipients were Gil Cooney, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776 Union retiree and President of the NEPA Retirees Alliance District 3; James Murphy, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163.

Thomas Raub, President of IBEW Local 163 and Michael Kwashnik, Business Manager of IBEW Local 163, represented their union and received the award at the event.

Mr. Cooney has been a supporter of the United Way since 1947, going back to the time when he first represented the Boot & Shoe Workers Union and solicited funds for the community organization. He currently is a generous donor and is serving as a co-chair for a special fund raising campaign among union retirees.

Mr. Murphy has also been a generous donor and is part of the Labor Leadership Giving Society, at the Platinum Level, which is $1,000 or more. He helps annually toward the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council/United Way Christmas project, soliciting for donations from IBT shops to fill 500 stockings for needing kids.

Local 163 Apprenticeship Program for the past 5 years has provided members to help with the annual NALC Food Drive each May. Also, each year IBEW volunteers help postal carriers unload donated food collected by NALC members.

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