Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 celebrates 125 years

Illinois Correspondent

CELEBRATING 125 YEARS, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 officers are (from left) Executive Board members Steve Buettner and Zach Hawthorne, Vice President Gabe Prange, President/Business Agent Matt Biekert, Business Manager/Financial Secretary Dan McKenna, Recording Secretary Scot Luchtefeld, and Executive Board members Brian Poirot and Corey Hagarty. – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 photo

O’Fallon, IL – It was 10 men in a field who took what was an extraordinary step in 1898: to form a union.

Eight plumbers, one pipefitter and one gasfitter took that step in a time when they were paid $5 a day, with no health care or protections.

On Oct. 14, the 240 current members of Local 101 in Belleville gathered to celebrate their quasquicentennial: 125 years as a local of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Those 240 members included 67 retirees, and 17 members who had been part of Local 101 for 50 years or more. One member of Local 101 who marched across Europe with General Patton in World War II, and one who survived Pearl Harbor.

Business Manager Dan McKenna said they now have wage packages that allow them to enjoy the better things in life and provide health care for the members and their families.

LOCAL 101 BUSINESS MANAGER Dan McKenna (left) received a proclamation from St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Ker recognizing Local 101’s 125th anniversary. – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 photo
VETERAN MEMBERS of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 were recognized at the Local’s 125th Anniversary Celebration at Gateway Classic Cars in O’Fallon.
– Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 photo

“We must never forget the members who have come before us,” McKenna said.

History was the overall theme for the event, filling a ballroom beyond rows of gleaming vintage automobiles at Gateway Classic Cars in O’Fallon.

“Ten brave individuals met in a field, and they learned to step up and start collective bargaining,” said Pat Kellett, general secretary of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and a member of St. Louis Local 562. “[They had] the guts and foresight to do what we are celebrating today.”

UA FINANCIAL SECRETARY TREASURER Pat Kellett spoke to members of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101’s 125th Anniversary celebration Oct. 14. – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101 photo

Several local officials attended, and state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) recorded a video congratulating the local on its anniversary. While he could not attend, he sponsored a resolution passed by the Illinois House of Representatives honoring the milestone.

“I look forward to working with you, to represent working men and women and advocate for collective bargaining, safety in the workplace, good wages and good benefits,” Hoffman said.

Attendees at the banquet each received a commemorative coin and pin, as well as an engraved wood cutting board with the seal of the union. The banquet was followed by a dance and celebration among the union members and their families.


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