By MARY ANN O'TOOLE HOLLEY
St. Charles, MO – Rob Kezele, a 19-year member of Sprinkler Fitters Local 268, has been named recording secretary of the Tri-County Labor Club, following the retirement of Ken Brooks.
Kezele, who has been a member of the Labor Club since the day he signed-on as an apprentice, has also served on the Club’s executive board and as sergeant-at-arms.
“I joined the Labor Club right away — as soon as I became an apprentice,” Kezele recalled. “The people who talked to me about joining the Sprinkler Fitters told me our jobs depend on who makes the laws, the politicians who we vote into office. That’s why I joined. I wanted to be involved and to support my union.”
Kezele said he came through the ranks surrounded by mentors – Mark Selby, former business manager of Insulators Local 1 and Pat Dolan, former president of Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 who also served two terms as a St. Louis County Councilman.
“Day after day, they reminded me of the importance of being union and the responsibilities that come with it,” Kezele said. “I am proud to be a union sprinkler fitter, and I enjoy helping to make a difference. Each year there are numerous anti-union bills presented in Jefferson City and, as union members, we need to stand up and do what we can to elect Labor-friendly lawmakers, otherwise, our ability to join unions will constantly be threatened.”
Tri-County and other area Labor clubs help influence state and local politics, interviewing candidates for Labor endorsements and rallying union members to distribute literature for Labor-friendly candidates, volunteer at the polls and go door-to-door for campaigns, such as the successful 2018 fight to beat back Prop A (“right-to-work”) in Missouri.
“We also have a pretty nice time through the Labor Club, getting together with like-minded people and having the opportunity to hear candidates who often attend our meetings,” Kezele said. “We stay informed and we’re ready to help.”
Tri-County Labor Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 10 Droste Road, near Lindenwood University, in in St. Charles, Mo.
The St. Louis Labor Council maintains a directory of area Labor clubs and when and where they meet at stlclc.org/labor-club-directory.