Announces AGC has rejoined organization
By TIM ROWDEN
Hugh McVey, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, was honored last week at the PRIDE labor/management organization’s annual awards luncheon with the Dick Mantia Labor Award.
The annual luncheon is an occasion to honor leaders in labor and management for their impact on the St. Louis construction industry.
McVey represents not only the building trades, but service employees and every member union of the state fed.
“Things are tough, tough, tough for the labor movement; they’re tough for the people who hire us,” McVey told the roughly 200 union and contractor representatives in attendance, noting the ongoing anti-union anti-worker measures being continually pushed in the Missouri legislature, and touching on the importance of labor-management cooperation.
“We’re all in this together. Without your help, we know in the labor movement, our children wouldn’t have the things that they have today. You’re good business people. We appreciate what you do for us, and I know you appreciate what we do for you.”
• George “Butch” Welsch, president of Welsch Heating and Cooling, received the Al Fleischer Management Award. Welsch is a past national president and board member of the Sheet Metal and Air-conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA), a longtime board member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 36’s Pension and Welfare Trust, and chairs the SMACNA St. Louis Labor Negotiations Committee.
“It troubles me when I see or hear of trades that are fighting with their management counterparts, or when contractors can’t or won’t sit down with their labor counterparts to resolve their differences,” Welsch said.
“Your contractors, if you are a union person, or your union leaders, if you are a management person, are not the enemy. The enemy is out there, all of those who would do what they could to take work by utilizing untrained, unprofessional people to do work that we can do better and more productively.”
• Steve Sobo, director of Design and Construction for Washington University School of Medicine, received the Joe Rinke Owner Award.
Sobo spoke of the need to engage the workforce on the jobsite in working toward a common goal, much as occurred on the Siteman Cancer Center in south St. Louis County, where representatives from Siteman came to the jobsite to explain the impact on the community that the building was having.
“The only way the St. Louis construction industry will improve is to encourage a greater sense of community so we are all working together toward a common goal,” Sobo said.
• Finally, the Boeing Company, recognized with the PRIDE Industry Impact Award. Boeing’s $33 billion Defense, Space and Security unit (BDS) is headquartered in St. Louis, where it employs approximately 15,000 people. As a global company employing more than 170,000 people in the United States and 70 countries worldwide, Boeing serves customers from 150 countries making it one of the largest U.S. exporters.
Steve Gill, director of Boeing’s St. Louis Shared Services Group, accepted the award on behalf of Boeing, giving recognition to Boeing’s union workforce, and the cooperation between St. Louis contractors and unions that have helped Boeing grow.
“We are very proud,” Gill said of Boeing’s St. Louis operations. “We believe the best days of the American worker are still to come.”
PRIDE Executive Director Jim LaMantia, also used the occasion of the awards luncheon to announce the renewed partnership between PRIDE and the Association of General Contractors (AGC) which is rejoining the organization after a more than three-year absence.
“The return of the AGC to PRIDE is going to have nothing but positive effects in every aspect of the construction industry,” LaMantia said
The AGC of St. Louis is the leading voice of the construction industry in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, representing nearly 400 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms.
“The strength of PRIDE is having everyone at the table,” LaMantia said. “With them being back, PRIDE is more effective. It’s going to make the organization totally focused on every aspect of the union construction industry.”