It’s Official - The Niagara-Orleans AFL-CIO Labor Council ‘Broke A Record’ With Its 2017 Labor’s Night At The Races/United Way Fundraiser - $15,000 Raised Brings Nine-Year Total To Nearly $100,000
(NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK) – It’s official, the Niagara-Orleans AFL-CIO Central Labor Council broke a record with its 2017 Labor’s Night at the Races fundraiser to benefit the United Way of Greater Niagara (UWGN), raising $15,000 to bring the total of the nine-year event to nearly $100,000.
“What a ‘turnout.’ I saw ‘so many new faces from so many’ Unions. ‘I’ve never seen food lines like the one we just had.’ ‘We’re extremely lucky,’” Niagara-Orleans AFL-CIO Labor Council President Jim Briggs, who also serves as United Steelworkers (USW) District 4 Sub-Director, told WNYLaborToday.com.
“The Labor Council in Niagara County ‘understands that people need help.’ ‘We stand up for our own and we stand up for them.’ ‘We do this for those who are less fortunate than (Union Members) are.’ ‘Organized Labor gives back to make it work for people,” Briggs said.
Held on Friday, June 9th, the Labor’s Night at the Races event drew what Briggs and United Way Labor Liaison Bill Jakobi told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper was the “largest number” of Union Members and supporters that the event has ever had in its nine-year history.
A total of 675 tickets were sold for this year’s event, “a good one-hundred more” than what was sold the year before, Jakobi said. In addition, eight more full-page ads in the Labor’s Night at the Races fundraiser program were sold this year, along with another nine half-page ads – which helped raised the overall monetary total, he added.
The unique dirt track car racing event that’s held at Ransomville Speedway in Niagara County raised $13,300 in 2016, bringing the eight-year total for the annual fundraising event to $80,000, which goes to benefit 44 community programs that are funded by the United Way across the Western New York County.
With its $15,000 total in 2017, that amount now grows to $95,000.
“A lot of ‘hard work’ goes into this event,” said Briggs, who gave a tip of the hat to the hard work of Jakobi, whose personal involvement over the course of time has made Labor’s Night at the Races one of the crown jewels of Union fundraising across the Western New York Region.
The Niagara-Orleans Labor Council’s Labor’s Night at the Races’ fundraising total has been broken by about $1,000 in each of the last three years.
The dollars raised by the event goes to help fund 44 community programs, including - but not limited to, the Boy’s and Girl Scouts organizations, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth counseling services, credit counseling services and a variety of family and health services.
Organized Labor and the United Way have been partners for more than 75 years and they both work for a common goal: To help the Niagara County Community.
“This is a Labor program that benefits those living in Niagara County and it gives Organized Labor the opportunity ‘to help those in need,’” Jakobi said. “The Labor Movement ‘always goes above and beyond and that’s in addition to this event.’ Their Members ‘have always agreed to dedicate a portion of their weekly paychecks to help the United Way and give back to the communities where they live and work in.’”
A number of Union Members own and drive cars at the Ransomville Track for the Labor’s Night at the Races event, including those from the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Ironworkers Local 9, Laborers Local 91 and the Steelworkers.
“It’s ‘all about how we can help one another,’” Briggs said.
However, it wasn’t lost on Briggs how Labor puts it word behind what it pledges to do, unlike some elected officials in Niagara County.
“Some elected officials ‘say’ they’ll be with Organized Labor when it comes to things like walking a picket line in support of Labor Unions. But even when some ‘say they will, they don’t.’ ‘That’s the difference,’” Briggs said.