North County – With an eye towards the future and a salute to the past, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with a gala family picnic, the construction of a $12 million training campus, and the preparation of an exciting history of the union over the past century, Business Manager John O’Mara announced with pride.
“We have a proud union with a proud tradition of working with our contractors to insure the finest quality work anywhere in America, something our members provide with commitment and dedication,” O’Mara said. He added: “And as part of that proud tradition is our supporting worthwhile community efforts where our members give of their volunteer time and skills and our contractors join us with providing materials and support.
“The first 100 years of our union is just the beginning of our legacy,” O’Mara stressed. “While times are tough right now, we’ve all been through tough times before. This is America, and we as Americans, as proud trade union members and families, we will prevail as we have done time and time again.”
TO MARK THE ANNIVERSARY
To mark the Century milestone, Local 562 will:
• Picnic: Hold a gala family picnic at Local 562’s complex on Larimore Road on Saturday, June 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family fun day will include activities for everyone: for the kids, a fishing tournament, pony rides, games, face painting and more; for the adults, bingo, horseshoes, a washer tournament and much more.
• New Training Center: Break ground on June 8 for a $12 million training campus to be built at the Larimore Road complex. The union’s training facilities at Lilac and Kenran Industrial Blvd. will be closed when the new facility opens in August 2013. The new complex will include two new buildings housing 97,000 sq. feet of training and classroom space. The local also has training facilities in Fulton and Cape Girardeau.
Training a skilled union workforce has been the mark of Local 562 since its beginning. Local 562’s members have a national reputation for being among the best in the U.S.
“Training programs funded by Local 562 produce plumber and pipefitter foremen, journeymen and apprentices with consistently high skill levels and motivation,” the union’s website proudly states.
“We believe cost-effective construction is achieved through productivity and education. Our industry’s advance planning and commitment to training ensure the availability of a highly motivated, skilled work force ready to complete complex work, whenever and wherever it’s needed.”
• Proud History: Prepare a detailed history of the colorful union that has been a mainstay in the local labor movement, local and state politics and commitment to St. Louis County. It will trace the current organization back through the years to the beginnings of the U.S. labor movement in the late 1800s.
“This is a proud moment for our members,” O’Mara said. “We are building for the future on the rich history and traditions of our union. It’s our mark of confidence that union construction will re-build America; and our members will be in the forefront of that effort here in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.
Local 562s 4,500 members serve the plumbing and mechanical industry in 67 counties in Eastern Missouri. In 1999 Plumbers Local 35 was merged by the International Union with Pipefitters Local 562 to create the new Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562.
HBD Construction will build the project, expected to create 300 to 400 part-time and full-time jobs.
When it comes to community commitment, Local 562 can be found in the forefront of volunteer efforts. Whenever and wherever there is a need, the union’s members are among the first to volunteer. Among its many charitable/community endeavors are
• Heats On - Initiated in 1987, this program teams pipefitters with the Mechanical Contractors Association (M.C.A.) to provide free services, valued at more than $200,000 annually, to St. Louis’ poor and elderly residents. The contractors donate the trucks and materials needed, while Local 562s members donate their time and expertise to inspect and/or repair faulty furnaces, hot water heaters and smoke detectors.
• Rebuilding Together - Since its beginning in 1993, this program has provided plumbing repairs and home renovations for elderly, low-income and disabled residents throughout the St. Louis area. Each year 70-90 homes are inspected and/or repaired. "Rebuilding Together" is made possible by the extensive volunteer work of hundreds of Local 562 members and the contractor members of the Plumbing Industry Council (PIC), and other supplier members.
As an example of the program, in one recent year 254 Local 562 members donated their time and talent to complete the repairs and/or renovations. The PIC donated 64 service trucks loaded with tools. A wide array of plumbing products - sinks, faucets, toilets, etc.) - were donated by PIC supplier members.
• Habitat for Humanity – Local 562 recently partnered with this charity to assist in building decent, affordable housing in St. Louis. This program helps families that are determined to proactively better their lives. Needy families are chosen to become future homeowners and contribute "sweat equity" in building their own homes. Since the St. Louis chapter’s inception in 1986, over 200 families have benefited from this program. Over the next 10 years, it is estimated that Habitat’s services will touch an additional 422 families, or about 1,900 people.
• Fishin’ Fitters Annual Tournament - The annual "Fishin Fitters" charity fishing tournament is held each year at the Lake of the Ozarks. The proceeds are donated to the St. Louis Backstoppers, an organization that provides support to families of St. Louis’ policemen, fire fighters and other emergency responders that were killed in the line of duty, and to Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis.
“We are proud of our member’s willingness to give of their time and talent to help those in need of help,” O’Mara stressed. “This is a proud organization with a proud membership who can be counted on to help when help is needed.”
Local 562’s leaders are:
Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer John O’Mara, Assistant Business Manager Mike O’Laughlin, and Assistant to the Business Manager (Plumbers) Chris Chumley.
Business Representatives: Mark Fohey, Steve Garner, Mike Grady, Jim Lane, Mark Morgan, Mike Mulligan, Mike O’Connell III, Elmo O’Neal and John Reiter Jr.
Organizer/lobbyist David Holmes and Scott Ramshaw.
President Dan Murphy, Vice President Mike O’Connell III, Recording Secretary Marty McClimens.
Executive Board: Roy Bone, Rich Kellett, Fred Creamer and Frank Schuette.
Finance Committee: Ken Kundert, Brian Nichols and Kevin O’Mara.
Examining Board: Jim Abkemeier, Jr., Mark Collom, Ron Harte and John Knott.
Inside Guards: Ken Boemer, Mike Larrigan, Phil Jones and Chris Knight.
Director of Health & Welfare Dan Murphy.