North County Labor to honor Dick Kellett’s ‘second retirement’ with $5 for the Fight fundraiser May 28

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Dick Kellett
DICK KELLETT

A “Thank You” retirement party honoring Dick Kellett, one of the region’s most active rank-and-file, grassroots labor activists in America, will be held on Thursday, May 28 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562’s Hall, 12385 Larimore Rd.

The gathering is honoring Kellett for his 28 years of leadership as the first president of the first labor club in the St. Louis Region — the North County Labor Club, launched in 1987. Kellett is one of the six founding members of the club.

“At 80 last December, I decided that it’s time to let younger leaders take charge,” Kellett told the Labor Tribune. The “thank you Dick” gathering is co-sponsored by the North County Labor Club and the Greater St. Louis Labor Council.

MONEY TO HELP UNION FAMILIES

And true to form, Dick has directed that monies raised go to the $5 for the Fight Fund that supports out-of-work and other union families facing financial crisis and hard times.

“We want to thank Dick for his many incredible years of service,” said Pat White, Labor Council president. “And even in his second retirement, he’s still serving by making sure that night’s funds goes to workers in need of help. One would expect nothing less of Dick Kellett.”

Kellett, a 64-year member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, had his “first” retirement in 2000 when he retired as a Local 562 business representative after serving for seven years (1993-2000). He has worked as a shop steward, foreman, general foreman and unofficial “consultant” to young and older workers and labor leaders needing advice on issues and problems.

COST INCLUDES DINNER & DRINKS

The fundraiser is $35 per person with tables of 10 available. It includes dinner, beer and wine.

Checks should be made payable to the North County Labor Club and mailed to 490 Benne Dr., Florissant, MO 63031. Please include the number of tickets and/or tables being purchased.

Elected to head the club is IBEW Local 1’s Tom Sansevere, another outstanding grassroots labor activist. Any questions about the event, please contact Sansevere at 314-974-2382.

The other five founding members of the North County Labor Club were Operating Engineers Local 513’s Fred Nicolay, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562’s Dick Sullivan, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36’s Jim Murphy, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 1’s Mike Walsh and IBEW Local 1’s Butch Hepburn.

NORTH COUNTY UNIQUE IN U.S.

North County Labor Club logoThis club was the first in the county to be independent, not tied to the Democratic Party, Kellett said. “We knew we had to support some friendly Republicans, so we decided we were not going to be an affiliate of any party.” The club has been true to its word.

Since its founding, and seeing the success of the North County Club, Labor Clubs have sprouted all over the state. And every time, they’ve come to Kellett for advice and every time, the North County Club has donated $250 to help the newly formed clubs get started. The clubs are grassroots activism at its best.

The original idea of an independent club came from then Local 562 Business Representative Jim O’Mara and Ed Kiely after they attended a United Association meeting in Washington, D.C.

O’Mara asked Kellett to get it started and the rest is history.

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