Members and supporters of the Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council staged an informal picket outside the United Way annual meeting Thursday afternoon.
As people streamed into an annual meeting for United Way, they were greeted by picketers with red and white signs that read “where’s the fairness” — a protest against the cutting of a long-term partnership between the union and United Way.
The Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council stood outside of the Bayfront Convention Center to protest the United Way annual luncheon.
The council wants to send a message out into the community that they want to contribute to organizations that support workers and give them dignity and respect.
“The United Way severed all ties with the central labor council after decades of a partnership working with them. Without notice to us, without cause,” said Eric Seggi, a delegate for the Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council.
Seggi also alleged that the organization wrongly terminated a long-time labor liaison.
“He’s really somebody that cares about community service. Somebody that puts a lot of his heart and soul into it and to see this happen to him is just really unfortunate,” Seggi said.
The United Way released a statement to JET 24/FOX 66:
“Over the last several years, the United Way of Erie County has significantly restructured which resulted in many changes within the organization. This was done to best carry out our mission to crush poverty which requires leveraging all of our resources as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Our focus is on supporting underserved children so they can be successful in school. We welcome all support and partnerships from any and all sectors who share our vision for our children’s future.”
Seggi told us their voices will not be silenced and this situation will not go unheard.
“They didn’t say they were going in a different direction. If that was that case that would be fine with us. One would think that if you had a partner that you’ve worked with for many, many decades you would say ‘ hey, thank you, nice to work with you. We’re going in a different direction,’ and that would be okay, but they didn’t do that,” Seggi said.
Seggi says that the council has reached out several times and there has been no response from United Way.