“I’m happy to have been a part of continuing to expand the work and focus United Way does in the community,” said Liz Feitl as she reflected on her career with United Way of Monroe County.
After nearly 20 years as the AFL-CIO Community Service Liaison, Liz is retiring. During this time, she has been a dedicated advocate and supporter of workers in Monroe, Bartholomew, Brown, Greene, Lawrence, and Owen counties.
Liz first became involved with United Way when she led a workplace United Way fundraising drive for the Indiana University Department of Religious Studies in the mid-1980s. It was at this department where Liz became involved with labor organizing, when she and colleagues formed a union for the support staff of Indiana University.
The Communications Workers of America Local 4818, formerly Local 4730, took three years of organizing, where Liz served on the organizing committee, before it won recognition in 1993. Liz then was a staff representative for nine years and helped bargain 10 contracts.
“That was just a very enriching part of my life, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything,” she said. And that experience started Liz’s involvement in labor work. “It just seemed to be my career home,” she said.
Liz served on the United Way of Monroe County Board of Directors as a labor member from 1995 until 2001. The AFL-CIO Community Service Liaison position opened in 1996 and Liz served on the personnel committee to hire for it. She took the position when it opened again in 2002, and she has been making a difference in that role ever since.
“A big part of the work that this position does is strikes, and layoffs, and displaced workers,” she said. “So, it’s always intense but rewarding at the same time.”
During her time in this position, Liz has supported workers through life-changing events in our community, such as the Otis Elevator plant closing in 2003, General Electric layoffs and eventual closing in 2016, and the United Auto Workers General Motors strike in Bedford in 2019. “I’ve really enjoyed serving the workers who have faced layoffs,” she said.
In addition to supporting the workers in our community, Liz has been a part of many other projects. She particularly enjoyed working on the Monroe County Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, associated with the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 828, which collected 42,367 pounds of food in 2019.
“I’m really proud we were able to get a living wage ordinance in Bloomington,” she said, as she reflected on other projects she had been a part of. “It wasn’t quick or easy, but it was well worth the task.”
Along with supporting our community, Liz has made a lasting impact on United Way. She worked as a contributing staff member on multiple internal projects, including revising the certification and allocation process.
Over the years, Liz has been a part of strengthening United Way and helping us be more prepared to respond to the needs of the community. This past year, she was proud to see how United Way responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There wasn’t another organization around that could have handled that,” she said. “We’ve always been known for convening people and resources in the community when things get rough and you need somebody to pull it together."
United Way and its staff extend their deepest gratitude to Liz for all that she’s done, and we wish her well in her retirement.
Join us on Thursday, May 27 from 4-6 p.m. to wish Liz a happy retirement! We’ll be hosting a drive-thru, social distance celebration at the United Way parking lot (located at 431 S. College Ave.).
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