(UPDATED WITH FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS)
One of St. Louis’s most respected and effective labor leaders, Dick Mantia died Wednesday, June 4, 2014. He was 82
Visitation will be Sunday, June 8 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Schrader Funeral Home, 14960 Manchester Rd. at Holloway in Ballwin, MO.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 9, at The Cathedral Basilica, 4431 Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis.
Visitation at the Cathedral will be held 9 a.m. to 10 prior to the funeral mass
There will be no cemetery service.
Mantia is survived by his wife, Toni, of St. Louis; a son, Rocky Mantia, and daughter, Michelle Scarfino, both of Wildwood; a sister, Joyce Manning of south St. Louis County; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Please share your memories, sympathies and thoughts on Mantia’s passing in the comments section at the bottom of this story, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A LONG AND STORIED CAREER
Mantia had a 53-year career serving the members of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1 as an executive board member, business representative and business manager, served as secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council for 20 years, and served as international representative and organizer of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators. He retired five years ago.
PRIDE OF ST. LOUIS
Mantia may best be remembered for what he did to bring the area’s building trades unions and contractors to the same table.
In 1972, just as he was taking over as full-time chief executive of the Building Trades Council, Mantia was tapped to become the next labor co-chairman of PRIDE, St. Louis’ fledgling construction industry labor-management group committed to making St. Louis the best union construction town in America.
PRIDE stands for Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development and Employment. It was the first group of its kind and propelled Mantia onto the national labor scene.
Working with his management co-partner, the late Al Fleischer, chairman of Fleischer-Seeger Construction Co., Mantia worked tirelessly to resolve local construction issues through open communications.
Mantia’s and Fleischer’s successes became legendary: strikes were avoided, hundreds of unproductive work rules were eliminated, cost overruns disappeared and jurisdictional disputes all but evaporated. For the first time, architects, engineers, suppliers and owners working with the building trades and the union construction firms and local organizations through PRIDE were able to reach a level of cooperation never before heard of in St. Louis – once known for being a “tough” labor town that major companies avoided.
The concept was so novel that in 1973 U.S. News and World Report featured PRIDE in a special article, extensively quoting Mantia about the changes being made in St. Louis construction. In 1981, Fortune Magazine did a seven-page spread on PRIDE’s accomplishments.
Before PRIDE, there was 35 percent unemployment in the construction trades. Once PRIDE was launched and took hold, union construction boomed and Building Trades unemployment dropped to about six percent. St. Louis turned from being one of the most expensive construction towns in America to one, if not the, most productive.
In 1982, the U.S. Labor Department recognized PRIDE as the finest example of labor-management cooperation in America and cited Mantia’s and Fleischer’s leadership as one of the prime reasons. Forbes Magazine did a major feature article on the organization and its leaders.
Mantia served as labor co-chair of PRIDE for 20 years, until 1992 when he was named the international representative and organizer of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1.
In 2007, Mantia returned to PRIDE as board member emeritus, offering his leadership and expertise in the areas of productivity, safety and diversity.
Numerous entities named Mantia “Man of the Year” over the years in recognition of his personal and professional achievements, including City of Hope (1974), the Engineering News Record (1976), the St. Louis Construction News & Review (1977), the St. Louis Port Council (1981), the U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (1985) and the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council (1998).
Today, PRIDE gives an annual labor award in Mantia’s name.
SHARE YOUR MEMORIES
Share your memories, sympathies and thoughts on Mantia’s passing in the comments section at the bottom of this story, or by emailing email@example.com.