United Way Labor Committee Selects James Cama for 2022 Mason Award

JAMESTOWN, NY- Every year United Way solicits local union halls for nominations and convenes past winners to select a member or staff person from organized labor who contributes to the community through volunteer service. The Joseph H. Mason award and “Salute to Labor” Dinner honors the legacy of Joe Mason, who served on the Board of Directors of United Way and exemplified Labor’s commitment to serving the community. This year, on August 10, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County will honor James (Jim) Cama, a member of the New York State United Teachers Union, at the annual Salute to Labor Dinner at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celeron, NY. Jim was nominated by fellow teacher, Mary Cook.

“Jim honors the Mason family legacy in the many ways he is involved in our community. United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is pleased to name him as the 2022 Joseph H. Mason Award Winner,” said Amy Rohler, Executive Director. 

Jim Cama grew up in East Hampton, CT and attended the University of Richmond in Virginia. After graduating, he worked in the city of Richmond with Americorps before moving to the mountains of Colorado, where he taught First Grade and PreK for several years and met his wife, Emily, a native of Sherman, NY. They have been married for 18 years and have four children. Upon relocating to Chautauqua County, Jim taught Kindergarten at CC Ring Elementary School, and will be starting his ninth year at Lincoln Elementary School in September where he currently teaches second grade.

To make changes to some of the housing issues in Jamestown, Jim has worked with the Housing Ministry group at Zion Covenant Church and been an integral part of the Hands-On Neighborhoods Jamestown clean-up events, working as a volunteer to clean neighborhoods and plan the events. While working full-time as a teacher, Jim and his wife Emily are also Realtors at ERA Team VP Real Estate. Together, they are passionate about helping people become proud homeowners within the city of Jamestown and the surrounding area.

Jim is an active member of the Jamestown Teachers Association and is a past coordinator of the Jamestown Teachers team in the YMCA’s Battle of the Businesses. He was a coach with the Jamestown Area Babe Ruth teams for four years and his family has been a host for Babe Ruth Baseball Players multiple times. This coming year they will host a foreign exchange student through the Rotary Exchange Program. He and his family attend church services at Zion Covenant Church and he taught in the Vacation Bible School at Hillcrest Baptist Church for 5 summers. 

The Salute to Labor Dinner honoring Jim is scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 6:00pm (cocktail hour begins at 5:30pm) at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celeron, NY. Tickets are $60.00/person and can be purchased by calling the United Way Office at 716-483-1561 or emailing Nicole Gustafson, Marketing and Resource Development Manager, at ngustafson@uwayscc.org. Tickets must be purchased by July 31. 

The Joseph H. Mason Award: History & Background
Joe Mason was the Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 65, representing southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.

Joe’s reputation for standing up for the causes of labor impacting the day-to-day lives of working men and women of our area is well known. Joe was recognized nationally for serving as the first Co-Chair of the labor management committee, a locally initiated revolutionary approach to labor relations. Joe Mason was most importantly a long-standing member of the United Way Board of Directors. Joe exemplified labor’s commitment to serving our community through his devotion to the United Way campaign. 

After Joe’s passing on, the United Way Board of Directors created the Mason Award in recognition of labor’s critical contribution to the success of the United Way. What followed was 40 years of the United Way recognizing the critical role that local labor leaders play in serving our community, in addition to serving the interests of the union members they represent.