By MARY ANN HOLLEY
If you’re involved with the Tri-County Labor Club in St. Charles County, you’ll know Steve Bailey as the club president, constantly organizing efforts to fight actions by anti-union foes, pulling together donations for area food drives, walking door-to-door hand-billing for worker-friendly political candidates and much more.
But that’s just Steve Bailey volunteering.
On May 1, Bailey freed his time for more, retiring from his day job as regional director of the North Central Region of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), a position he has held since February 2008. His responsibilities included covering 14 states in the Midwest, from Missouri to Minnesota; from South Dakota to West Virginia.
Bailey was also appointed to the International Union of Bricklayers’ and Allied Craftworkers’ Executive Council in 2008, and prior to that, he served for a year as organizer in the North Central Region.
“Retirement is good, but leaving the work I’ve done for so long is hard,” Bailey said. “But there’s always work to be done when you love the Labor community, especially these days.”
STARTED IN 1975
Bailey began his career with the Bricklayers Union in 1975 when he was indentured as an apprentice bricklayer with William Milward Contractors. After being initiated as a journeyman bricklayer in April 1979, he worked for numerous BAC contractors and worked as a foreman from 1983 until January 1995.
In September 1988, he was appointed to the Bricklayers Local 1 executive board, where he served the members faithfully until in January 1995. That year, he was asked to become a Local 1 business representative and appointed as treasurer before progressing to the International Union positions.
Bailey’s volunteer work continued throughout his career as he was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Tri-County Labor Club in 2001. Eleven years later (2012) he was elected president of the Club by acclamation of the membership. Bailey continues as president.
Bailey also worked for his community of St. Peters. In 2007, Mayor Len Pagano reached out to him to join the city’s planning and zoning commission, where he continues to serve.
INVOLVED SINCE HE STARTED
John Flynn, former business manager of Local 1 and president of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman says he remembers when Bailey began with the bricklayers at the height of the “right-to-work” fight of 1978.
“He was actively involved with the Bricklayers Union and political activities since he started as an apprentice,” Flynn said. “In fact, the time I remember most about Bailey is during a trip to Washington, DC for a union rally. He had an enthusiasm and a ‘make-do’ attitude that was a great asset to our union.”
Jim Kavanaugh, retired business manager of Local 1, appointed Bailey as a union representative.
“I have always been involved with my union and enjoyed every minute of my work with the Bricklayers,” Bailey said. “It is really important to get involved with your union and stay involved. With this fight to repeal ‘right-to-work,’ we all have to realize as union members, we are all in this together.”
Bailey is a resident of St. Peters. He and his wife, Ginne, have six children.