The ‘Robert J. Kelley $5 For the Fight Emergency Relief Fund’ has raised $1.9 million to support thousands of union families in need since its creation by Brother Kelley in 1996
By ED FINKELSTEIN
The $5 for the Fight Fund has a proud new name.
In recognition of the late St. Louis Labor Council President Emeritus Bob Kelley’s six decades of service to the Labor Movement, the member assistance program he created to help union families in need has been re-named the Robert J. Kelley $5 For the Fight Emergency Relief Fund.
Brother Kelley, who died on Oct. 27 after an extended illness, was a 44-year member of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655, serving as a union representative, organizing director and president, and served as the Labor Council’s secretary-treasurer and president for 29 years.
A special presentation honoring Brother Kelley was made to his family last month by Labor Council President Pat White at the Councils annual Union Representatives Christmas gathering at Machinists District 9 Hall. (See photos below.)
“Thanks to Bob’s efforts in launching this fund in 1996 to support a Machinists strike at Boeing (then McDonnell-Douglas), and then recommending it be continued as an emergency fund to help union members in need, over $1.9 million has been raised to support our union brothers and sisters when they are in crisis,” White said in announcing the new name.
In addition to the name change, checks the Fund uses to pay vendors for members’ needs will carry the Fund’s new name and a special caricature of Brother Kelley.
Brother Kelley’s wife, Barbara, her voice filled with emotion and eyes brimming with tears, accepted an engraved glass plaque honoring Brother Kelley’s vision and years of service, and presented the Fund with a $2,500 donation to the Kelley Emergency Relief Fight Fund on behalf of the Kelley family.
She also thanked everyone for their outpouring of love and affection for Bob, which she said provided the family with much needed and appreciated emotional support in their time of grieving.