Doug Beck, a 34-year member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 and two-term member of the Missouri House of Representatives has been elected president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council.
His election by the Council’s delegates on July 22 had added significance for Beck, as it was also the birthday of his late father, the first in three generations of Beck pipefitters. Beck’s son is currently a Local 562 apprentice.
“My election was a transitional moment in my life,” he told the Labor Tribune, recalling his father’s career as a pipefitter and the joy this announcement would have brought him.
Beck also reflected on his own pride in being a union pipefitter, what the union has meant to him his family, and his son now carrying on the family tradition.
Beck, who after four years in the Missouri House is now running for the Missouri Senate in the First District, says he will be putting his union pipefitting work on hold so he can devote himself full time to his Council responsibilities, legislative duties and campaign for the Missouri Senate.
Beck is the Labor COPE-endorsed candidate to replace longtime friend of Labor Scott Sifton, who will be term-limited out at the end of this session.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
“This job brings with it a lot of responsibilities and traditions, and I praise the Council’s previous leadership,” Beck said.
Beck is replacing former Council President Gina Walsh, of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1. Walsh is also retiring from the Missouri Senate at the end of this term due to term limits. Prior to Walsh, the Council leadership role was held by former Senator and IBEW Local 1 member Tim Green.
Focusing on the future, Beck said, “We need to look at innovation and be able to react more quickly so that we can have even more impact for working people and our members.”
He emphasized that although he is a union pipefitter, “That will not impact my decision-making, because I represent all trades and will be supporting all trades.”
The Council’s new secretary-treasurer is Kevin King, business manager of Roofers Local 20 in Kansas City.
‘A HARD WORKER,’ AND ‘SOLID LEADER’
“Doug will do a wonderful job, I’m very excited for him,” Walsh said. “He knows the political processes and when he wins his Senate seat, it will be good for the building trades to have someone on the inside working for working people. And Doug is a hard worker. I know he will be a solid leader.”
St. Louis Building Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler said Beck is an exceptional trade unionist who will stand and fight for workers.
“He’s already proven that in the House,” Stiffler said. “We need to do everything we can, as unions and as individual union members, to support Doug’s run for the First District Senate seat. If we ever needed a strong voice inside the Republican-controlled Senate, it’s now. We sincerely thank Gina Walsh for her efforts. We need Doug to now carry on our fight.”
FIGHTING FOR MISSOURI FAMILIES
Beck started his political career on the Affton School Board as president and as a director. He was first elected to the Missouri House in 2016 and won re-election in 2018.
As a member of the House, he has fought against bills that would weaken workers’ rights and advocated for public schools.
Beck was an outspoken opponent of the legislature’s effort to pass the phony “right-to-work” (for less) law in 2016. The law passed but was rejected in a public vote in 2018.
“I try to always keep in mind that I am speaking for the people in my district. I do that as a state representative and will continue to do that as a state senator,” Beck told the Missouri Times. “I weigh all the decisions that I make on ‘How does it affect the people in my district?’
“I want to help people. Whether it is kids, working people, middle class, elderly people that are in the district on fixed incomes. That is strictly the reason why I have done anything I have done,” Beck said. “Moving to the Senate would enable me to get more things done, I believe, to work across the aisle to bring better things to the citizens of my community.”