Jefferson City – Veteran trade unionist Hugh McVey, 60, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO for the past 17 years, has announced he will retire on July 1.
The council’s constitution calls for the executive board to meet within two weeks of the president’s resignation to appoint a successor until the next convention, which will be Sept. 14-17 in St. Louis.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve for the past 17 years,” McVey said in a letter to all unions. “I can honestly say that this was never a ‘job’ for me…. The labor movement is, and always will be, my life’s work, and I will be forever grateful for what (it) has done for me personally and professionally.”
McVey is a 40-year union member. He joined Operating Engineers Local 1148 in 1974 working for Union Electric.
“I am truly indebted to each of you for your friendship and support through both the good and bad times,” he said.
McVey praised the efforts of Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Mike Louis and his entire staff for their “commitment to the thousands of union workers across the State of Missouri.”
He also had special praise for Louis, thanking him for “his leadership and dedication to the Missouri AFL-CIO and it’s affiliates,” adding that (Louis’s commitment) “gives me hope for a better tomorrow for all workers across the state.”
In recent years, McVey has been plagued with health problems. In his letter, he noted that he had made his decision after consultation with family, friends and “following the advice of my doctors.”
Reflecting on his 40 years as a union member, McVey told the Labor Tribune that as long as there are greedy employers, there will always be a labor movement.
“When people finally get fed up, like we’re seeing in Europe now, they will understand that it’s in their best interests to have collective bargaining and strong unions again to represent them.
“Workers are getting the short shrift now,” he added. “I find it hard to understand how they go against their own best interests.”