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Commitment to Community subtopics

Read about the role played by Rochester’s central labor bodies in improving the welfare of their affiliates’ members in the areas of:


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Topics » Commitment to Community


From their inception Rochester’s central labor bodies had concerned themselves with the welfare of their affiliates’ members, especially efforts to maintain employment and to improve wages and working conditions. But these bodies also were involved in larger civic and social programs to mitigate the effects of unemployment — poverty, hunger, homelessness — and to protect workers, union and non-union alike, through health and old age insurance.

The central labor bodies played an important role in Rochester’s efforts to meet the health and housing needs of its citizens, supporting clinics and health insurance initiatives and demanding public housing. Labor also supported local struggles for civil rights and justice, including efforts to establish a Police Advisory Board.

Labor’s participation on the boards of Rochester’s public and private agencies became a vital issue in the early 20th century, when labor recognized that its ability to influence the provision of services to the poor and working class families was increasingly hampered by agency bureaucracies governed by the city's elite. The struggle for representation on the Community Chest is an important story in labor’s community service.