Building trades chili cook-off highlights union solidarity

Organizers raise $1,360 for $5 for Fight Fund

LOTS OF CAMARADERIE building brotherhood during the Chili Cookoff gave everyone a chance to know one another better, discuss issues, and play a few games. – Labor Tribune photos

In a spontaneous show of union solidarity, three members of Electrical Workers Local 1 held their first Chili Cook-off for building trades members, creating a venue for member-to-member relationship building and in the process raised $1,360 for the $5 for the Fight Fund to help union families in need.

It was a rousing success with more than 100 union brother and sisters joining in the Dec. 14 event at the Florissant Elks Club enjoying each others company, talking holiday plans, and of course tasting chili prepared by five volunteer cooks who enthusiastically brought in their chili and readied them for the big contest, oyster crackers and all.

WINNERS in the Chili Cookoff were (from left), Roofers 2’s Rob Tudor – First place overall; Desiree Drury – Second place overall/First for hottest chili; Michelle Jarvoe, Third place overall/First for most original chili; Honorable Mention, Bobby Jones. – Photos by John Whitelaw


  • First place overall – Rob Tudor, Roofers Local 2, with sweetest chili.
  • Second place overall and First for the hottest chili – Desiree Drury.
  • Third place overall and First for the most original chili, Michelle Jarvoe (SEIU Local 1).
  • Honorable mention: Bobby Jones, IBEW Local 1.

Not in the winning category but the creator of a great chili, Kathy Groezinger.

SERVING UP THE JUDGES for the final test, contestants at left (front to back) Rob Tudor, Desiree Drury, Kathy Groezinger, Michelle Jarvoe and Bobby Jones. Judges willing to put their taste buds to the test (right side, front to back) Ray Giguiere, Don Motzkus, Police Chief Tom Fagan, Dan Drury and Shannon Duffy. Not in photo, judge Nick Sashe. – Labor Tribune photo

Organizing the program on a spur-of-the-moment desire to help union families in need as a result of a Labor Tribune story reporting that the Fight Fund’s support for UAW 2250 strikers was depleting the fund at the crucial Christmas season, were IBEW Local 1 members Chris Field, Billy Aymar and John Whitelaw.

“We wanted to promote brotherhood among the trades and at the same time raise some money for the Fight Fund to help our union families,” said Aymar.

“We take care of our own,” added Field. “It’s brothers helping brothers,” added Whitelaw.


COMPARING RANKINGS based on their own taste tests, judges in the Chili Cookoff were (front row, from left) Don Motzkus (Machinists District 837), Shannon Duffy (St. Louis Media Guild), Dan Drury (IBEW Local 1) and Ray Giguere (Elks member). (Back row from left) Nick Sachse (IBEW Local 1) and Florissant Police Chief Tom Fagan. – Labor Tribune photo
LOTS OF FUN depicted in this special graphic created by Clint Lites, an IBEW Local 194 member from Shreveport, La.

Volunteering as judges and putting their taste buds potentially in harms way were Machinists Local 837’s Don Motzkus, IBEW Local 1’s Nick Sachse, St. Louis United Media Guild’s Shannon Duffy, Florissant Police Chief Tim Fagan, Elks Club member Ray Giguere and IBEW Local 1’s Dan Drury.

And ensuring it was all union, a special graphic announcing the event was created by Clint Lites, an IBEW Local 194 member from Shreveport, La., and serving as DJ to provide music was IBEW Local 1’s Tom Martin’s with ListenUp Productions. Printing for the programs was by union printer Arnold Printing Co.


MUSIC MASTER serving as DJ for the evening, IBEW Local 1’s Tom Martin with ListenUp Productions. – Labor Tribune photo

Actually, this was the third fundraiser held by the group of determined unionists whose burning desire is to help others in need. They have now raised over $20,000, donated to a number of different groups to including the Sick & Needy Fund, IBEW Local 1’s Relief Fund, Apprentice Committee and the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus and Retiree’s Committee.


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