St. Louis Labor Council encouraging one union member from each building trade to compete
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Think you’ve got the winning recipe to claim a chili championship? Then sign up today to compete in the St. Louis Building Trades Chili Cook-off, sponsored by a group of IBEW Local 1 members, to benefit the $5 for the Fight Fund on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Organizers are looking for competitors in the event, which will begin at 3 p.m. at the Florissant Elks Lodge 2316 at 16400 New Halls Ferry Road in Florissant. Trophies will be awarded to the first three places in the following chili categories: hottest, sweetest and most original.
The cost to enter the competition is $25 or $35 if you would like a shirt. The cost to attend the event is $10 per person or $15 for families of five or less. The cook-off will feature door prizes, hamburgers, hot dogs and soda and a full cash bar. Music will be provided by DJ Tommy Tom from 3 to 7 p.m.
UNIQUE EVENT TO HELP OTHER UNION MEMBERS
“At this time of year, the generosity of our union members really shines through,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council, the organization that oversees the $5 for the Fight Fund. “This is a truly unique event enabling all the trades to help out other members in need.
“I know it’s last minute, but I’d like to put a call out to all the building trades to encourage at least one member from their union to compete in the chili cook-off to ensure its success.”
HOW THE EVENT CAME ABOUT
IBEW Local 1 members Billy Aymar and Chris Field are helping organize the cook-off. Both took time out of their busy Thanksgiving holiday weekends to talk to the Labor Tribune about how they came up with the idea for the chili cook-off.
Aymar, a 17-year Local 1 member, said he was traveling a couple years back for out-of-town work. Since many of the workers on the project were all from out of town, they decided to go out one night a week to a bar to get to know each other. They called it Brotherhood Nights.
“We had such a great time, I was wondering why we weren’t doing this at home,” Aymar said. “When I got back to St. Louis, I talked to a few of my Local 1 brothers about it, and we started meeting once a month.”
LARGER EVENTS WITH A CHARITABLE TWIST
From there, the group began planning larger events, including an IBEW Local 1 member-sponsored St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas celebration in 2017 and a chili cook-off in 2018, Aymar said. Proceeds from the events went toward charitable efforts within Local 1.
Field said last year’s chili cook-off was a huge hit, and the group had discussed opening the event up to include all members of the building trades. He said everyone loved the idea, but plans stalled with members of the group – as they often do with special events – with the usual business of work and family obligations.
SOMETHING TO HELP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
“Then, we saw members of UAW Local 2250 go on strike, and we thought, ‘We have to do something to help our brothers and sisters’,” said Field, a 19-year Local 1 member. “We scrambled, and we were able to pull together the chili cook-off, and we are hoping for the best.”
The month-long, nationwide UAW strike against General Motors ended Oct. 25. Several members of UAW Local 2250 turned to the $5 for the Fight Fund for financial help during the strike, placing an increasing burden on the fund, which helps union families facing hardship due to medical expenses, layoffs or other reasons.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
One hundred percent of every donation goes straight to the $5 for the Fight Fund, and 100 percent of the money in the fund goes to help working families in need. Any money raised from the chili cook-off would help the fund, and fellow union members in need, tremendously.
If you are unable to participate in the upcoming chili cook-off, you can mail a check or money order to “$5 for the Fight,” c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044. Please include your union affiliation. Or you can make an online donation by visiting labortribune.com/5-for-the-fight.
HOW TO ENTER
To enter the chili cook-off competition or for more information, email Aymar or Field at firstname.lastname@example.org.