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Man’s Fight to End Youth Homelessness Reveals Pipefitters Union Secret: Extensive Charitable Efforts


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Joe Roberts, CEO of the multimedia company Mindware Design Communications, is pushing a shopping cart across Canada. He is doing it as part of a charity initiative called The Push For Change. His goal is to end youth homelessness.

Roberts, who was formerly homeless himself, has seen an outpouring of support across Canada. But no one has matched the support he’s received from organized labor:

“Last August I had the opportunity to speak at the UA Annual General Meeting,” explains Roberts. “I was just there to tell my story and talk about possibility. And, at the end, I said ‘Oh, and I’m doing this walk across Canada to try to create a better future for young Canadians.’ I wasn’t trying to pitch them, but they were so inspired that they put a motion on the floor then and there to support The Push for Change.”

[…] The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA Canada) has been the biggest partner in getting The Push for Change off the ground.

Though we don’t always read about it in the news, UA Canada’s charitable outreach is no anomaly:

“Our members are always there to give a helping hand when somebody needs it,” says Bruce Myles, Business Manager of UA Local 325 in Fredericton. “When we join these unions, it’s a brotherhood and sisterhood. And, we try to look after everybody. We support a lot of charities, but we don’t really advertise it.”

For Roberts, his newfound perspective on union giving has changed how he sees labor unions. It’s a message for the masses:

“I’ve learned about how unions strengthen our communities,” says Roberts. “They are the backbone of the middle class and they are deeply involved in philanthropy. It’s one of the greatest secrets never told.”


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