By SHERI GASSAWAY
IBEW Local 1 Financial Secretary Dave Roth has been patronizing Ted Drewes for more than 40 years. As an apprentice, Roth and his classmates would make the three-mile trip from the union’s training center to the historic St. Louis landmark during their lunch break.
So, when Roth drove by the popular St. Louis Hills frozen custard stand last month and saw two Bates Electric trucks on the parking lot with a crew working on a utility pole, he felt compelled to stop. Bates is a non-union contractor that pays wages and benefits far below the area standards negotiated by Local 1.
UNION WAGES HELP SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY
“I talked to the general contractor and owner while I was there,” Roth said. “I explained the area wage standards and how those wages help union electricians support the community through purchases and taxes. I told them how long I had been supporting Ted Drewes, not to mention the thousands of other union members and their families.”
Roth also explained that IBEW Local 1 electricians offer the highest level of quality, skill, integrity, value and safety in the industry. He asked Ted Drewes owner Travis Dillon if he could have one of Local 1’s electrical contractors visit to see if they could finish the job and meet the budget.
“Travis agreed and stepped up to the plate and said ‘I want an IBEW Local 1 electrician to do this job,’” Roth said. “I asked Jay DiMaggio from DiMaggio Electric, who is from this neighborhood, to do me a favor and take a look. Jay met with Travis and the general contractor a few days later, and secured the job.”
Dillon said a truck hit the existing freezer at Ted Drewes a couple of years ago and it had been limping along ever since. He said the new freezer, which is separate from the building, will be used to store the company’s frozen wholesale items. The existing freezer will be used for cold storage.
IMPORTANT TO GO UNION
“It was important for me to use a professional union electrician – someone who knows how to do the job right,” said Dillon, whose father was a union carpenter for 48 years. “And Jay DiMaggio is from this area, and it turns out that he worked on the existing freezer 30 years ago.”
Ted Drewes has been selling frozen custard for more than 90 years. It’s a popular destination for St. Louisans and tourists alike. Located along historic Route 66, the stand offers a variety of frozen custard creations dished out through a dozen walk-up windows.
The company’s “concrete” has long been its most popular treat. The concrete, which was created in 1959, is a malt or shake so thick that it is served upside down. Ted Drewes is also known for its delicious hot fudge sundaes, floats and ice cream sodas.
Ted Drewes has two locations. The one at 6726 Chippewa St. in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood opens at 11 a.m. daily. The other location, at 4224 S. Grand Blvd., is closed for the season. For more information visit, teddrewes.com.