Laborers 42 christens its new headquarters with member/family gala

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7. ribbon cuttling.
MAKING IT OFFICIAL with the traditional ribbon cutting, Laborers Local 1 Business Manager Brandon Flinn (fifth from left with scissors), the union’s staff and officers and key guests prepare to open their Open House celebrating their new headquarters at 301 S. Ewing Ave. Ready for the big “cut” are: FIRST ROW from left: Vice President Danny Jenkins, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis, Local 42 President Rich McLaughlin, St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed, (Flinn), St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, Laborers Midwest Region Manager John Penn and (standing right) Executive Board member Ted Reller. SECOND ROW from left: Executive Board members Gary Bonnard and Charlie Bean, Auditors Carl Bell and Pat LoPicolo and Executive Board members Brian Watson. THIRD ROW from left: Law Enforcement Division Direcor Bill Stark, Auditor Matthew Andrews, Executive Board member John Eremita and Auditor John Bundren. BACK ROW from left: Executive Board member Tom Wood, Sgt. At Arms Bill Keaton an executive Board member Jef Mack. No present during photo ws Auditor Nick Pavia – Labor Tribune photos

With hundreds of members, their children and grandchildren cheering, VIPs galore, face painting and balloon sculpting for the kids, plenty of food and attendance prizes, Laborers Local 42 christened its new offices in a gala Open House on June 20.

Even the weather cooperated as the sun came out after a week of rain to allow for the traditional ribbon-cutting in front of the newly remodeled office at 301 S. Ewing Ave., the former home of Sheet Metal Workers (SMART) Local 36.

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KIDS’ FUN at Laborers 42’s Open House included face painting, anticipated by Miracle Leggett, great niece of Local 42 retiree Kevin Whitworth and balloon sculptures made to order.

“We are beginning a new chapter in our storied history,” said Local 42 Business Manager Brandon Flinn in welcoming everyone to the spacious meeting hall in the building’s lower level. He thanked everyone who made the new facilities possible, with special praise for Local 36 and Business Manager David Zimmermann who worked with the union “to ensure this incredible building stayed in union hands.”

President Rich McLaughlin served as Master of Ceremonies

FOR MEMBERS, FAMILIES

“Everything we do is for our members and their families,” said Midwest Region Manager and LIUNA Vice President John Penn, who brought congratulations from Laborers International Union (LIUNA) President Terry O’Sullivan.

Penn praised the retirees and veterans in the audience for “handing off to your local leaders a great union,” pointing out the hardships they went through in the early years of building the union.

“Wages at $1.50 an hour, strikes over nickel-and-dime raises, being the victim of Mother Nature which often meant months without work ­– those were their hardships that created our unions today,” he said, urging everyone to “be proud of the union card you carry in your wallet.”

Pointing out that the Local 42 has 98 percent market share in this community, more than all the jurisdictions in Illinois combined except Chicago, he congratulated Flinn and the union’s officers for their diligence in ensuring their work jurisdiction was protected, no matter how small the job. He noted that the union will have some 500 apprentices this year; an indication of how good work is and will be for the foreseeable future.

“You have good leadership, a good local, a bright future,” Penn said proudly.

VIPs ON HAND

On hand to congratulate the union were St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed.

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REMEMBERING some of the projects they either worked on, knew about or were learning about for the first time, Laborers Local 42 retirees, members and family check out the eight Decades of Growth displays in the union’s new headquarters.

“Local 42 is a true example of what unions are, and mean to our region,” Stenger said, noting that while the local is active in every aspect of the community, members should be especially proud of the incredible charitable work they do for organizations everywhere.

Reed noted that unions set a standard for non-union employers as well. “Point out to your neighbors and friends that when they get a good paycheck, a vacation, holidays and sick days, it’s because of the unions,” he said.

HISTORY HIGHLIGHTED

A unique feature in the new facilities is an incredible series of eight mounted displays that depict Local 42’s history by decades from its beginnings in January, 1933. Each of the displays depicts highlights of the decade in photos, Labor Tribune articles and collected memorabilia from the union’s files and from donations of others. Each display is mounted behind Plexiglas presenting a solid overview of the decade.

11The union provided guided tours through the halls with Local 42 guides explaining the union’s storied history. Local 42 was originally created by merging Laborers Local 22, 162 and 284.

In 2010, Police & Public Employees Local 1032 merged to form Local 42’s Law Enforcement Division and earlier this year Local 53 merged with Local 42.

Included in the day’s festivities were face-painting, a balloon artist making balloon creations for a lot of happy children and a grand buffet luncheon that had plenty of great food for everyone.

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