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Old 10-09-2011, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Exeter, NH
4,494 posts, read 2,146,886 times
Reputation: 3880

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This is one of the perplexing conundrums that comes around every year, and I can't figure out what's behind it. It's about the United Way, and the strong-arm tactics employers use to force employees to contribute.

My employer is a large and typically cut-throat Big Business. It does NOTHING for charitable reasons, and the employees themselves are worked to death while losing more and more of their compensation every year in cost-shifting of benefits. The corporation is so tight with money that when it keeps people working 24 to 36 hours straight on a "plant emergency," it won't even subsidize meals (the managers generally pay for meals for the team out of their own pockets). In order to circumvent labor hour laws, we are "off the clock" (unpaid) for anything over regular hours--which is "legal" since we're "exempt employees."

Every year the United Way drive comes up, and employees are blackmailed into participating. If you don't participate at all, you WILL be laid off in the annual reviews, no matter WHAT your job level or performance (yes, it happened more than once). The higher up, the more money you are expected to contribute, and for those of us in our peak earning years, the amount is VERY painful. Especially when you have your own charities that you like to support directly, and you don't approve of the United Way.

My question is this (and I ask this to those who have INSIDER KNOWLEDGE): What does the employer (the Big Business) get out of the United Way Campaign? It is NOT just goodwill, since this corporation has none, and could care less how people view it. Is it a direct payment to the greedy CEO and his top-level executives? Is it simply a power play, that the Narcissistic executives get a power-kick from forcing employees to give up their very hard earned money? Or does it have something to do with the fact that the corporations get to charge the employees bi-weekly, while only handing money over to United Way once or twice a year (a tactic used by UPS to get large amounts of interest on money that belongs to clients?)?
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:14 AM
 
Location: County Mayo Descendant
2,654 posts, read 2,899,798 times
Reputation: 1054
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
This is one of the perplexing conundrums that comes around every year, and I can't figure out what's behind it. It's about the United Way, and the strong-arm tactics employers use to force employees to contribute.

My employer is a large and typically cut-throat Big Business. It does NOTHING for charitable reasons, and the employees themselves are worked to death while losing more and more of their compensation every year in cost-shifting of benefits. The corporation is so tight with money that when it keeps people working 24 to 36 hours straight on a "plant emergency," it won't even subsidize meals (the managers generally pay for meals for the team out of their own pockets). In order to circumvent labor hour laws, we are "off the clock" (unpaid) for anything over regular hours--which is "legal" since we're "exempt employees."

Every year the United Way drive comes up, and employees are blackmailed into participating. If you don't participate at all, you WILL be laid off in the annual reviews, no matter WHAT your job level or performance (yes, it happened more than once). The higher up, the more money you are expected to contribute, and for those of us in our peak earning years, the amount is VERY painful. Especially when you have your own charities that you like to support directly, and you don't approve of the United Way.

My question is this (and I ask this to those who have INSIDER KNOWLEDGE): What does the employer (the Big Business) get out of the United Way Campaign? It is NOT just goodwill, since this corporation has none, and could care less how people view it. Is it a direct payment to the greedy CEO and his top-level executives? Is it simply a power play, that the Narcissistic executives get a power-kick from forcing employees to give up their very hard earned money? Or does it have something to do with the fact that the corporations get to charge the employees bi-weekly, while only handing money over to United Way once or twice a year (a tactic used by UPS to get large amounts of interest on money that belongs to clients?)?
I know what you mean, I used to work for one of the huge giants and then the United Way time came around, they tried to make you feel guilty if you did not donate, finally i said no that I donate to my own charites.

I don't know what their deal is but I sure got tired of it.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:18 AM
 
6,209 posts, read 2,893,621 times
Reputation: 5121
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
Every year the United Way drive comes up, and employees are blackmailed into participating. If you don't participate at all, you WILL be laid off in the annual reviews, no matter WHAT your job level or performance (yes, it happened more than once). The higher up, the more money you are expected to contribute, and for those of us in our peak earning years, the amount is VERY painful. Especially when you have your own charities that you like to support directly, and you don't approve of the United Way.
I am skeptical of this claim because if you do work for a big corporation, as you claim, this would be grounds for harassment and there are laws against that.

But yes, United Way is basically a scam- a way for businesses to create a positive image for themselves in the public's mind, to get their big important business' name in the paper, and for the CEO to be awarded an important-looking plaque for their fund raising efforts.

The Annual United Way Campaign: So Why Again is HR Stuck With This?
United Way relies upon corporate leaders to collect donations from their employees. Successful CEOs who raise millions of dollars are lauded by an organization called The National Corporate Leadership Program.

It's a status thing. It's always a status thing. If you know anything about human nature, you know that it looks good to get a plaque from your buddies. When your fellow CEOs recognize you as an exemplary leader because your employees donated cash to The United Way, you feel great.
Inappropriate corporate sponsorship of charities

Last edited by renault; 10-09-2011 at 12:33 AM..
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
7,200 posts, read 5,005,303 times
Reputation: 3868
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
This is one of the perplexing conundrums that comes around every year, and I can't figure out what's behind it. It's about the United Way, and the strong-arm tactics employers use to force employees to contribute.

My employer is a large and typically cut-throat Big Business. It does NOTHING for charitable reasons, and the employees themselves are worked to death while losing more and more of their compensation every year in cost-shifting of benefits. The corporation is so tight with money that when it keeps people working 24 to 36 hours straight on a "plant emergency," it won't even subsidize meals (the managers generally pay for meals for the team out of their own pockets). In order to circumvent labor hour laws, we are "off the clock" (unpaid) for anything over regular hours--which is "legal" since we're "exempt employees."

Every year the United Way drive comes up, and employees are blackmailed into participating. If you don't participate at all, you WILL be laid off in the annual reviews, no matter WHAT your job level or performance (yes, it happened more than once). The higher up, the more money you are expected to contribute, and for those of us in our peak earning years, the amount is VERY painful. Especially when you have your own charities that you like to support directly, and you don't approve of the United Way.

My question is this (and I ask this to those who have INSIDER KNOWLEDGE): What does the employer (the Big Business) get out of the United Way Campaign? It is NOT just goodwill, since this corporation has none, and could care less how people view it. Is it a direct payment to the greedy CEO and his top-level executives? Is it simply a power play, that the Narcissistic executives get a power-kick from forcing employees to give up their very hard earned money? Or does it have something to do with the fact that the corporations get to charge the employees bi-weekly, while only handing money over to United Way once or twice a year (a tactic used by UPS to get large amounts of interest on money that belongs to clients?)?

1) That's awful. Should be illegal.

2) I wonder if this would happen in a unionized workplace... Along with other conditions you mention.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,443 posts, read 17,641,807 times
Reputation: 15560
Its been going on forever, I can remember my dad kvetching about the United Way drive back in the early '60s, he worked for a large pharmaceutical company, and they did the strong-arm thing like clockwork every year.
I worked for a large corporation back in the 80s, they did the same thing, to the point of forcing one to go to the meeting and sit through it so one could rescue ones kidnapped paycheck after the meeting.
Needless to say, I didnt work for that corporation for very long after that.
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:09 AM
 
12,439 posts, read 5,669,217 times
Reputation: 3107
My guess, and this is only a guess is that some senior executive in the company thought this would be good for business. The united way promotes the companies that participate in their programs as being civic minded and great members of the community, and it is free advertising in that respect. Of course it is not free to you only free to the company, which in a cut throat business world, if they can get away with it they will do it.

Here is some free advertising to show how giving some companies can be, when of course it is probably the employees that give and not the company.

United Way Global Corporate Leadership Companies | United Way

If it is a publicly traded company, you may want to look at their yearly statements to see if they have been giving to charity and then writing that off. Sometimes companies will match or reimburse employees contributions to charity. They may be taking an illegal tax advantage that the companies say they are paying or say they are matching when in reality they are not.

The last reason is the most plausible. Look at who runs your company...senior executives and most likely the CEO and see what his relationship with the United Way is. He may be on the board of Directors, which means he is getting paid for that position and the prestige. It would look bad if his own company was not 100% and he may receive some financial incentives. The United Way has had a lot of scandals in the past. My guess is the last reason is the most likely.

Last edited by hotair2; 10-09-2011 at 01:27 AM..
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Ohio
10,113 posts, read 4,965,687 times
Reputation: 11378
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlassoff View Post
1) That's awful. Should be illegal.

2) I wonder if this would happen in a unionized workplace... Along with other conditions you mention.
I worked in a unionized workplace.

When we were newly hired.....we were "forced" to sign up for the minimum deduction from our paychecks for United Way.

After your first 90 days were up.....you were legally a member of the union.....that is when I went downtown and cancelled my contribution.

I have my own charities that I contribute to......animal charities.
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:42 AM
 
3,949 posts, read 2,274,031 times
Reputation: 4572
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlassoff View Post
1) That's awful. Should be illegal.

2) I wonder if this would happen in a unionized workplace... Along with other conditions you mention.

Years ago, I worked in a unionized workplace and they harassed those who wouldn't donate by printing their names in the monthly newsletter and on the front bulletin board. It was reported to the union (AFSCME), and the Fiscal Department (who was doing the strong arming) was told to stop, it was a violation. I donated a token $1.00 myself, but that wasn't good enough - they wanted a weekly contribution deducted from my paycheck.

At my current job, they gave us the pledge solicitations with our paychecks last month, but not a word was said to us. I did notice, however, that the breakroom trash can was filled with the United Way pledge solicitations. I wonder how many trees were killed over this.
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:56 AM
 
15,087 posts, read 9,196,841 times
Reputation: 6703
I put down $0.01 as my donation every year just to say I participated to get my office's numbers up.

I find the United Way highly offensive the way they go after money.
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:48 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
16,751 posts, read 16,220,528 times
Reputation: 16078
The Principal's in my school system use UW as one way to measure each other's weiners at meetings. Those stupid ****ers bet on anything.
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