Hardship Fund Wrap Up Spring 2022

The Local 1857 Hardship Fund has concluded its second year successfully with grants given to 54 members in good standing. 

The Hardship Fund was an idea borne of the knowledge that this past year our members were affected by economic downturns and fewer available KCLS hours to supplement our paychecks.  This reality – combined with careful stewardship of union finances and decreased costs to our union during the pandemic – created an opportunity to again award members grants of $400. 

It is the strength of our Union and the support of our fellow members which make this possible.

This year saw an increase in participation and repeated validation of the need to support each other in various ways. We learned the awards helped members make car payments, pay student loans, close out medical bills, reduce debts and better care for children and parents among other necessities. Applicants stated they didn’t wish to take away from others more in need and were grateful for this economic grant made possible by our membership. 

The Executive Board is thankful for the input of members in designing this program and the efforts of the Task Force which carried it out.  In this second year of the Hardship Fund we built on our experience from last year and further refined our systems for promoting, communicating and delivering the awards.

May Day

May 1st is known as International Workers Day throughout the US and 80 other countries. In the 1880’s, thousands of workers began to strike for an eight-hour work day. The American Federation of Labor (formerly known as the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions) together with the Knights of Labor decided that beginning on May 1st, 1886, an eight hour workday would become the new standard in both the US and Canada. To learn more about the history of this important workers day, visit https://internationalworkersday.org/.

To honor the work each and every one of you do for the organization, our Union is providing a gift box of treats the week of May 1st for each location in the KCLS system.

2022 Hardship Fund

Local1857 Main is able to assist Union Members in need with a financial award from a Hardship Fund. We recognize the impact that economic distress and no sub hours at KCLS has taken on many of our peers. This will be the second year we have offered this opportunity. 

The money is available from a budgetary surplus due to fewer Union expenses over this past year and good stewardship of Members’ dues. The Hardship Fund takes into consideration maintaining a healthy balance sheet for the Union and the work involved to manage and grant the awards. 

This project is undertaken with the goal of helping members in good standing – current in their dues – with an award size which balances available funds and an amount big enough to make a difference. We aim to grant 100 individual Member awards of $400 dollars each or 133 awards of $300 each, depending on Member interest.  

If you have been negatively impacted by fewer KCLS work hours or other effects of recent economic changes, please apply for a financial award here.  Applications will be accepted through May 15.

Please read the Q+A for other helpful information.

Q+A

How will the awards be decided?

All Members in good standing who apply have equal access to the award. If interest exceeds the number of meaningful awards, a lottery will be held. The application asks for an optional explanation of how you would benefit which helps us understand the impact of the Hardship Fund project and, with your permission, may be used for highlighting the project.  

How will my privacy be assured if I do apply?

No individuals’ information will be shared. A small task force will be receiving and reviewing applications, verifying information and cutting checks. Confidentiality and privacy are values of the task force.

Why not just divide available monies equally among all 1857 Members?

With ~ 800 Members, we did not feel that an equal award for each would be a significant benefit.  

Why not suspend dues for Members instead?

The AFSCME Constitution requires local chapters to collect dues which are used for staff costs for our Staff Representative, ongoing expenses including trainings, approved outlays and operational costs.

How will I get my award?

Awards will be mailed to your home in the form of a check when the application period is over and the task force has completed its review.

Can the awards be bigger?

Local1857 Main would have its own reporting liability for awards above $500 which is onerous for us.  An award of $400 or $300, depending on Member interest, is big enough to make a difference, can benefit a significant number of Members and allow the project to proceed simply. 

Is there tax liability to me in receiving this award?

Please check with the IRS for any increased tax liability for such an award. Local1857 Main is unable to provide tax guidance.

I applied in 2021. May I apply again?

Yes.

Will the Hardship Fund be ongoing?

We will evaluate the project next year  and decide if we are able to repeat it based on interest, administration and available funds.

Current Union Contracts and Meetings

Looking for our current contracts?

You can now find the 2022-2024 Facilities Unit, Main Unit and Page Unit contracts on our website under “About Local 1857” at “Union Contracts.” We encourage all members to take some time to read through them. As always, please contact Union leadership, our Staff Representative or your local Steward about any questions/concerns—or bring them to a listening session!

The 2022 schedule for all bi-monthly general member listening sessions, quarterly general membership meetings and executive board meetings are on our website under “Meetings.”