Dick Kellett proudly nominated his son at UA convention; 562’s Mike O’Mara re-elected international rep
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Pat Kellett, former business manager of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 and most recently the administrative assistant to the union’s General President, has been elected General Secretary-Treasurer of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA). Mike O’Mara, veteran Local 562 business representative, was re-elected to his third term as International Representative.
In a most memorable, and undoubtedly one of the unique moments in the union’s history, a father seconded the nomination of his son for the union’s second highest position.
Dick Kellett, Pat’s father and 65-year retired veteran Local 562 member and active trade unionist his entire career, stood before the 3,300 delegates at the UA’s recent 39th national convention held in San Diego, Calif., and proudly said:
“I don’t think there is a brother or sister member in this convention who would not want to live long enough to be able to nominate their son or daughter to the position of General Secretary-Treasurer of the United Association… it is with great pride and humility that I now second the nomination of Patrick H. Kellett…”
In outlining Pat’s rise in Local 562 from apprentice to business manager, the elder Kellett added: “We never had a family meal with my three sons, who are all UA members, where we didn’t talk about our union and what it has done for working families.”
To a standing ovation, Pat, noting how proud he was to have his father nominating him, responded:
“If there is one person in my life who has influenced me most, it’s you Dad, no doubt! …When we hear the term ‘lifelong member’ I can think of no better example. The work you still do on behalf of our working people at the young age of 81 is certainly inspiring. Thank you, Dad. I love you Brother.”
True to his concept that guided his career at Local 562 that union members come first, in accepting his nomination Kellett said:
“To the UA men and women who are working in the field today and will be tomorrow, we owe you our very best. You should expect nothing less, and we should be expected to deliver and execute plans that help improve our members’ lives in and outside of the worksite. As an organization, we ask a great deal of our membership, whether it’s your personal time spent on education and certification, lending a hand to a less fortunate Brother or Sister, or promoting the prosperity and usefulness of the United Association.”
He then issued a call and a challenge:
“I think we can all agree that the needs of our industry are plenty. In order to be successful, we need greater participation by our membership. So how do we inspire the next generation? … how do we pass on that inspiration (from the convention) to the members back home?
“This, I believe, should be one of our goals. How do we change the apathy of some of our members into an inspired workforce that wants to be active, that wants to participate? This is of primary importance to me, and I believe, to all our elected officers. I know we can achieve this, and much more, if we work together and listen to the concerns and ideas of our brothers and sisters throughout the UA.”
He also praised the industry and its leadership without whom UA members would not have jobs in the first place.
“And to our contractors from St. Louis, thank you for being true partners in the plumbing, pipefitting, and fire protection industry. I want to also give my sincere thanks to the MCAA Board of Directors and the MCAA staff for all the input they’ve given us on our shared initiatives through the years.”
While thanking his entire family for being with him at the convention, Kellett paid special tribune to the O’Mara family also attending the convention, a family that has played a special role in Local 562’s growth as well as the union’s involvement in the UA: Local 562 Business Manager John O’Mara, his brother International Representative-elect Mike O’Mara and Pat O’Mara, the wife of former Local 562 business manager and community political leader Jim O’Mara (deceased).
“We are extremely proud of Pat and Mike,” said Local 562 Business Manager John O’Mara.
“Pat brought a lot of new ideas to the local and to our industry that helped move the union and our partner companies forward. It’s obvious that the International Union recognized and saw something special in Pat when they asked him in 2012 to create a new division within the UA — Business Development, Communications and Marketing. Then, in 2013, he was selected to be Administrative Assistant to the General President,” O’Mara said.
“And of course I’m very proud of my brother Mike who has served both Local 562, as a union representative, and the UA as an International Representative since 2007.”
At the convention the UA elected a new leadership team:
- General President: Mark McManus, the UA’s former General Secretary-Treasurer.
- General Secretary-Treasurer Pat Kellett.
- Assistant General President Mike Pleasant (re-elected).
General President William Hite retired after ten years as the UA’s general president. Paying tribute to his leadership, Kellett noted:
“I’ve witnessed Bill’s dedication and passion to the UA and the whole industry. General President Hite has been a keen observer of the needs of all of our partners. His outreach to the MCAA through the Strategic Planning Committee has been, and will continue to be, one of our successes going forward. Bill has carried on the proud UA tradition of being the safest and best-trained workforce in the piping industry.”
In expressing his pride in being elected to work as a partner with new General President McManus, Kellett said of McManus:
“His heart and mind are one hundred percent in the right place. Mark will build on UA successes, make changes where change is needed, and create new initiatives to help capture or recapture UA work and market share… he’s another strong advocate of a well- trained UA workforce,” adding, “Mark, we are all very excited about the future under your leadership.”
He also paid special tribune to his home Local 562.
“We in Local 562 have been blessed with a deep-rooted culture passed down from generation to generation that gives us a sense of pride and desire to be the best. Thank you, Local 562.”