The George Meany Award


It is estimated that one out of every four top unit leaders of Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews in the United States is a union member. That's a lot of union Scout leaders. Thousands of other union members serve youth through the Boy Scouts of America in local districts and councils, and on the regional and national levels.


In recognition of their contributions to America's future, the AFL-CIO Executive Council established the George Meany Award. It recognizes union members—men and women—who have made a significant contribution to the youth of their communities by volunteering in the programs of the BSA. The award is named for the AFL-CIO's first president, who gave strong support to Scouting over the years.


George Meany Award KnotSince the George Meany Award was introduced in 1974, more than 2,100 have been presented by AFL-CIO central labor councils and state federations throughout the U.S. The award, a recognition approved by the national AFL-CIO Executive Council, gives organized labor an opportunity to recognize members for their service to youth, and also makes the public aware of the important role union members play in the community.



George Meany Awards may be presented annually by each AFL-CIO central labor council and by each AFL-CIO state federation. The central labor council will select its own recipients.*


Applications may be downloaded here or obtained from your AFL-CIO central labor council, state federation, or your area's AFL-CIO Community Services liaison, or from your BSA local council or Labor Relationships, S226, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.


The recommended procedure for selecting a recipient of the George Meany Award is as follows:


The central labor council invites all local unions to submit their candidates for the award. Any person, group, affiliated council, or local union may nominate a Scouter/member for the George Meany Award. The nominees may be submitted through their local unions or directly to the labor council. In any event they must have the local union's recommendation as well as BSA council certification.


The central labor council makes the final selection of its recipients from the candidates submitted. The selections and approvals are normally the responsibility of the Community Services Committee of the central labor council in conjunction with the Executive Board.


The central labor council forwards the recipient's completed application, containing all of the appropriate signatures and the processing fee, to the Labor Relationships, S226, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.


Labor Relationships will mail the medal, certificate, patch, and all appropriate materials.




The central labor council or state federation may develop its own standards for judging, but will consider such factors as the nominee's record in (see the front page of the George Meany Award application):

  • Promoting and expanding the use of the American Labor merit badge.
  • Recruiting youth to earn the American Labor merit badge.
  • Forming Scouting units, especially those to be operated by local unions or other labor groups.
  • Recruiting union members to become Scout leaders, especially to become American Labor merit badge counselors and to be involved in units operated by union organizations.
  • Contributing to Scouting in the field of labor relationships, and bringing the Scouting and labor movements together to serve the community.
  • Taking Scouter training and setting a good example for youth.
  • Promoting Scouting for all youth, regardless of race, creed, or disabling condition.

Although a nominee's length of service in Scouting may be considered, no specific number of years should be required. A person's record of accomplishment and dedication should weigh more heavily than longevity.




The presentation should be made at one or more appropriate functions of the AFL-CIO central labor council, such as the following:

  • Labor Day celebration
  • Union counselor graduation dinner or awards banquet
  • State convention
  • Membership meeting


In addition, a presentation may be made at a BSA local council or district function, such as an awards dinner or an annual meeting.


The principal officer or the designated labor official representing the AFL-CIO labor council giving the award should make the presentation in all cases.


*The state federation may also have a George Meany Award program; their application process is the same, but their program and selection is separate from that of the central labor council.



Download an application form for the George Meany Award.