Madison County Federation of Labor gets back to business as COVID restrictions ease

Illinois Correspondent

East Alton, IL – It seemed like old times last week, but different, too, as the Madison County Federation of Labor held its first meeting since being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic almost a year ago.

Some 28 members and guests turned out at the spacious Machinists Hall on N. Shamrock Street.

“The county’s kind of opening up, and we figured that if we could all space out and wear our face masks, we would be good,” said B. Dean Webb, just re-elected as president of the Federation.

“We had to do nominations of officers. We were supposed to do it in November,” he said. “We felt it was a good time to get it done. Hopefully, once everybody starts getting vaccines, we can start having special events.”

Other newly elected officers included: Secretary Cathi Gitchoff, Treasurer Rick Stammer, vice presidents Mike Fultz (1st), Kirk Krabbe (2nd), Roy Collins (3rd), Bill Eickleberry (4th) and Candace Rejmenczak (5th); trustees Mike Roberts, Tim Young and Logan Sims; retirees David Hayes and Gene Hudson and sergeants-at-arms Nick Dodson and Terry Biggs.

Webb noted that while Labor’s Democratic Party allies did not fare well in last November’s county and regional elections, winning the White House was a great victory, particularly after President Joe Biden named Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, previously of Laborers Local 223 and head of the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

“We’re really excited about actually having a Labor person as secretary of Labor,” Webb said. “It looks good for Labor for the next four years.”

A Workers Memorial Day Service – the first in two years – is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, at the memorial at Gordon Moore Park in Alton. The ceremony will be held outside if weather permits.

“That was really the first event we canceled last year because of COVID,” Webb said. “Being an outside event, and with things calming down, hopefully we can actually have our memorial service.”

This year also will mark the 50th-year anniversary of OSHA, Webb said, and that will hopefully be part of the service.


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