CFL News
June 21, 2019

Labor, Industry and Community Leaders Speak at City Club of Chicago

Labor, Industry and Community Leaders Speak at City Club of Chicago

CFL President Bob Reiter joined Darnell Shields, Executive Director of Austin Coming Together, and Charles Matthews, President and CEO of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, at the City Club of Chicago for a panel titled “Unexpected Allies: When Corporations, Unions and Communities Come Together.” The conversation, moderated by Wendy DuBoe, President and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago, focused on ways unions are working together with businesses and community groups to create community change. Each leader spoke about efforts their organizations are making to collaborate on communal efforts.

The CFL’s program Access United was a focus of the discussion. The program partners with Austin Coming Together and 10 other community organizations to support community residents pursuing careers in union construction trades. President Reiter reported on the successes of the program, including 16 candidates who were accepted into six different trade apprenticeships, with minorities representing 76 percent of program participants.

Reiter also discussed a planned effort to bring together workforce development resources across the city to help community members access high-quality jobs at a central location. Matthews and Reiter both discussed the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program, a partnership between the CFL and Peoples Gas, which places veterans in utility jobs with the company.

Each of the partners discussed the importance of cross-sector collaboration to maximize impact and discussed the role United Way has played acting as a convener of community, business and union organizations. The CFL is committed to working with United Way, businesses and community organizations to uplift the communities in which union members live and work.