St. Louis Building Trades honors Page, Sobo, Bowman at Leadership awards program


HONOREES AND HONORED GUESTS at the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council Awards Program were from left Missouri Senator Doug Beck (D-Affton), a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562; John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the Building & Construction Trades Council; honorees Dr. Sam Page, Steve Sobo and John Bowman; and Frank Jacobs, business manager of IBEW Local 1 and president of the Building Trades Council. – Labor Tribune photo

Normandy, MO – The St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council honored area leaders at its first of what is planned to be an annual golf tournament and awards program July 17 at Glen Echo Country Club.

The 18 affiliated locals of the Building Trades Council presented Leadership awards to St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page, Washington University School of Medicine’s Steve Sobo and John Bowman, president of the St. Louis County NAACP.

“Tonight we recognize some special friends who have worked their entire careers to affect change not only for the building trades and Organized Labor but for all workers everywhere,” said John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the Building Trades Council.

Page is a 24-year political leader who started as a councilman in Creve Coeur, working his way through the state legislature and the county council to today serving as the chief executive of the largest county in Missouri, Stiffler said.

“Sam Page has proven by his words and especially his deeds in supporting issues that are important to our building trades workers that he is not only a friend of the building trades and Organized Labor, but his actions as a leader demonstrate his concern for all citizens of our greater St. Louis County community,” Stiffler said.

Page thanked the Building Trades locals for their 20-plus years of friendship and partnership. “We have the same goals in St. Louis County as everyone in this room,” Page said. “We want to improve the lives of everyone in St. Louis County, and because of your engagement and advocacy that’s what’s happened, that’s what’s happening and it’s going to continue in St. Louis County.”

Council President Frank Jacobs, business manager of IBEW Local 1, presented the award to Washington University’s Steve Sobo, who has the oversight responsibility for Washington University School of Medicine construction.

“He truly understands the value of union construction to ensure these projects are built right the first time, with the quality assurances the school of medicine needs to fulfill their vital roles in our community,” Jacobs said. “We appreciate the fact that Steve has been the strongest proponent of ensuring union Labor in all of their projects.”

Sobo praised the Building Trades and the Saint Louis Construction Cooperative (SLCC) (formerly PRIDE of St. Louis Inc.) for building a sense of community and cooperation to get jobs done right, on time and on budget.

“On construction projections at the Washington University School of Medicine, what we have learned is the more we engage the workforce on the job site and the overall building mission the more we create a sense of community, the more they see the need to work together as our team toward our common goal,” Sobo said.

“For example at the 600,000 square foot neural research project we had researchers who will be working in the building come to the jobsite during Safety Week and explain to the crew the impact on the community the building will have,” he said. “We let them know that in our eyes they were not just performing construction work, but helping find cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.

“On an active ambulatory cancer center project that we’re working for Siteman, we had one of the leaders from BJC come to the jobsite   during the safety lunch. She let the crew know the impact that Siteman has had on her, because she is a cancer survivor and she’s also an executive at BJC. The leader also let the workers know that the projects they were working on would help advance cancer cures even more.”

Bowman,  a 25-year member of the United Autoworkers (UAW), and a veteran of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, is an experienced political leader who has served in the Missouri House of Representatives, and as president of the St. Louis County Chapter of the NAACP.

“Over his career, John has stood up for the rights of all workers, especially those who have been under represented in our economy and our community,” Stiffler said. “As a long-standing community leader, public servant and lawmaker, he has helped pass and support legislation on education reform, women’s, men’s and seniors health issues and many urban renewal issues. He is an unapologetic fighter for the rights of African-Americans and other under-represented groups to share in the American Dream.”

Bowman recognized the solidarity of the Building Trades and Organized Labor’s commitment to diversity in unions and the communities in which they work.

“I have worked with John and the Building Trades and many people in here,” Bowman said. “As Desmond Tutu said ‘I am bound up in you, and I can only be human with you.’ So that means together we’re better. In the Labor trades we know what that means, Solidarity Forever. I will continue to fight on behalf of Labor, our unions and diversity in our communities.”


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