Hundreds of union families turned out for St. Louis Labor Council’s first-ever Labor Festival

MEN’S CHAMPIONS: Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 took home the men’s trophy, defending their long-standing tug-o-war title. The last Labor tug-o-war competition was held in 2018 to raise money for Rebuilding Together St. Louis. That was the Sprinks’ fourth win. This marks number five. – Labor Tribune photo


Florissant, MO – Hundreds of union members and their families turned out for the St. Louis Labor Council’s first-ever Labor Festival Aug. 27 at the Knights of Columbus here.

The festival was held this year in place of the traditional Labor Day Parade on Sept. 4.

St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said the Council wanted to try something new, and it proved to be a huge success.

“It was much bigger than we expected for sure,” White said. “We’ve already got ideas going for next year, which we’ll obviously have to run the leadership and the delegates. I think we need a few tweaks because it was a lot bigger than we thought. I’ve never seen so many kids at a Labor event in the time I’ve been around. It was definitely a hit with them.”

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS: Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562’s Women’s Team took home the women’s trophy, besting the team from Missouri Women in Trades (MoWIT). – Labor Tribune photo

Scott Hargis, president of Machinists Automotive Lodge 777, said the event was “reminiscent of days gone by.”

Tommy Hamilton, Roofers Local 2 financial-secretary, said he was sad to hear that the parade wouldn’t be taking place, but he was really pleased with everything offered at the festival.

“This is just amazing and just a wonderful family event,” said Hamilton, who brought his family. “I expect this to get bigger and better in upcoming years.”

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562’s Kevin Oldani said the location of the festival was near and dear to him.

“I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus here so this is extra special to me,” he said. “Plus it gives us the opportunity to spend more time together off the clock.”

ST. LOUIS LABOR COUNCIL President Pat White (left), his wife Maggie (right) and Gas Workers Local 11-6 President Steve Lane coordinated the Labor Tug-O-War. – Plumbers and Pipefitters 562 photo

Laborers Local 110’s Jim Lee also said that he would miss the parade, but that the festival was a great opportunity to be outdoors with the family.

“This is a fun, family event full of solidarity and unity,” Lees said. “It’s great to see.”

Activities for the kids included bounce houses, face painting, snow cones, a petting zoo and various games set up at the tents of different unions.

There was also cornhole tournament, live music performed by members of Musicians Local 2-197, food prepared by members of UNITE HERE Local 74, barbecue from Laborers Local 110, and grilling and drinks at several of the union tents.

The biggest event of all, of course, was the Labor Tug-O-War, which featured men’s and women’s competitions, as well as a kids tug-o-war.

Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 (Team 2) took home the men’s trophy and Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562’s Women’s Team took home the women’s trophy.

Unions participating in the competition included:

• Elevator Constructors Local 3
• Fire Fighters Local 2665
• Gas Workers Local 11-6
• Iron Workers Local 396
• Plumbers Pipefitters Local 562
• Roofers Local 2
• Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 (2 teams)

• Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562
• Missouri Women in Trades (MoWIT)

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