Founding member Joe Beetz retiring
By JOHN MOYLE
In 1964, gas rose to 30 cents a gallon, the Gateway Arch was under construction, the Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series and the Construction Laborers Pension Trust of Greater St. Louis was created with the help of men like Joe Beetz.
Beetz, who retired from his day job in 2009 after 63 years as a principle of Beetz Pluming, is preparing for his second retirement as secretary/treasurer and a founding member of the Greater St. Louis Laborers Pension Board.
HOW IT STARTED
Beetz, of Chesterfield, was president of the Plumbing Contractor Association (later to become the Plumbing Industry Council) and a member of a three-man committee that represented the association when the fund was being created. He attended all the planning meetings between representatives of labor and management that ultimately established the pension trust on May 1, 1964.
“I was appointed to the board because I was the only one on our panel that showed up for the last meeting,” Beetz said.
Asked why he’s continued to serve so long he quipped “I do it for the pay.”
Since members of the board receive no compensation for their hard work, the “pay” Beetz refers to is limited to an occasional sandwich.
Beetz plans to retire from the board in May when he and the Pension Trust both reach 50 years of service.
A SOLID FUND
The fund’s board is made up of representatives from laborers locals as well as contractor associations. Beetz said the board has maintained a cooperative nature since its creation and has “worked together successfully and without issue for 50 years”.
That strong partnership between labor and management built a solid fund that now serves over 6,500 participants and 2,100 retirees currently on pension from Laborers Locals 42, 53 and 110.
The fund is, and has consistently been, in the top tier ERISA green rating since the fiduciary rules on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act were established in 1974.