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The decision for Local 259 to adopt the March of Dimes as a charity to support wasn’t difficult, according to President Brian Schneck.
“How do you say ‘no’ to babies?” said Schneck, whose local represents 1,500 members at auto dealerships on Long Island and elsewhere in New York.
Schneck and other UAW members recently experienced the results of the March of Dimes’ work by meeting a little girl who was about to turn 6 at a dinner recognizing labor’s contributions to the charity.
“Without the March of Dimes she wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be ready to celebrate her sixth birthday,” he said.
The March of Dimes’ mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality. A half-million babies are born prematurely every year. The March of Dimes has raised $1.8 billion since 1970.
The UAW is a longtime supporter of the national charity. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, along with Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., in October were named the first-ever March for Babies national co-chairs and have committed their organizations to raising at least $1 million toward the national $100 million goal.
“UAW members look forward to working with Ford Motor Co. to enhance participation in March for Babies throughout the auto industry and throughout America,” Gettelfinger said. “We’re all committed to a common goal: working together for healthy babies.”
Schneck said his local is ready to do its part. The local chapter of the March of Dimes made a presentation to Local 259’s executive board and membership in December. The local has started a push for members to walk in the charity’s March for Babies event in late April.
To find a March for Babies event near you, go to the March of Dimes Web site at www.marchforbabies.org and enter your ZIP code. Check with your local to see if other members are participating.
Helping out those less fortunate has always been a part of Local 259 since it was chartered in 1937. The local supports the Harry Chapin Food Bank on Long Island, among other charitable works.
“It’s something labor should be doing,” Schneck said. “This local has always had a social conscience.”
For more information on how your local union, company, congregation or community organization can participate, visit: www.marchforbabies.org/kickoff2010