George Meany Award

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George Meany Award

George Meany Award
medal and ribbon (top)
square knot (bottom)
Last updated:
Level:Scouters who are AFL-CIO Union members

The George Meany Award is a national recognition approved by the AFL-CIO Executive Council. It may be presented to any adult union member who has made a significant contribution to the youth of their community through Scouting.

Each AFL-CIO city central labor council and each AFLCIO state federation is permitted to give one award annually. The emphasis of this award is on the importance of being selective. There is no rule that the quota must be used every year. No honorary recognitions should be made.

The purpose of this award is to recognize the recipient’s outstanding service to youth through the programs of the Boy Scouts of America.

From 1974 to 1991 1,440 Scouters were recognized with this award. In recent years about 125 of these awards have been presented each year.


The Significance of 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 who have made a significant contribution to the youth of their communities by volunteering in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America. The award is named for the AFL-CIO’s first president, who gave strong support to Scouting over the years.

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.

The Application and Selection

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

The application is form no. 512-011 Adobe Acrobat PDF

Qualification Guidelines

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

  • 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.

Recommended Selection Procedures

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 the Boy Scouts of America 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 of $100, to:

Boy Scouts of America
Regional Program Support, S426
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX 75038

Regional Program Support will ship the certificate, medal, patch, embroidered square knot, and all appropriate materials within four to six weeks.

Awardees receive a medal and ribbon to be suspended from the neck, a cloth pocket insignia, a square knot and a certificate.


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 Boy Scouts of America 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.

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