United They Stand?

The United Way of Essex and West Hudson counties in New Jersey long has been a lifeline to its communities. Thanks to contributions from such local employers as Prudential Insurance Co. and Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the charity in the past five years has pumped $44 million into local day-care centers, job-training programs, and drug-abuse clinics. This year, though, the United Way local isn't making any promises. "We're worried," says one employee. "Certain contributors are already lost."

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