President & Chief Executive Officer
I have often said that the labor unions and labor-oriented organizations were some of the true heroes of the 20th Century. With their mission to seek fairness and to protect the dignity of working people, labor did much to advance the cause of justice and to improve life for working people.
I was reminded of this when Nobel Peace Prize winner and labor leader, Lech Walesa,came from Poland and graced us with his presence at the fund-raiser for the Center for Labor Education and Research. From his labor roots, Walesa helped rally his nation to assert its collective national pride and seek the desire for freedom.
From his own labor roots, on islands that Walesa dreamed of once visiting, Art Rutledge helped the working people in Hawaii in a totally different and significant way. Now his lasting legacy is Unity House.
As we look back on the 20th Century, Unity House was truly a unique and creative endeavor. In the United States, there is no other organization that has the mission and resources that Unity House has. What we have provided for our members and beneficiaries is admired and serves as a model for others to follow.
Last year's report detailed the accomplishments and advances since the current Administration was empowered in 1991. Clearly, in that time, we have provided programs and benefits that have improved the quality of life for our members and benficiaries. For many working families, programs such as scholarships, affordable housing and child care grants augment the wages and benefits they receive from their employment and in some cases, our programs have helped them in the difficult economic times of the 1990s.
Unity House has remained an entity that continues to be true to its roots: unions and the working people. This has especially been the case when workers were involved in labor disputes, such as the Young Laundry situation where strikers lost their jobs and needed temporary financial assistance.
Now in this new century, Unity House hopes to conitnue to evolve and meet the contemporary needs of its beneficiaries and members. We understand that our mission may not be like Walesa's quest for democracy for his country, but it is still a noble effort to try and provide programs and activities that economically continue to be out of the reach of working people.
In the year 2000, we plan to reach more members and beneficiaries and hopefully make them aware of Unity House and what we can do for them. We expect to change and improve to make such programs and opportunities more accessible. We would like to be part of the lives of our members and beneficiaries and know that they can count on us.
It is our challenge for the 21st Century. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank you for your support in the past and wish you and your family good fortune in this year.