By TIM ROWDEN
The Saint Louis Construction Cooperative (SLCC) (formerly PRIDE of St. Louis Inc.) honored leadership in the local construction industry at its 10th annual “Building Better Together” awards luncheon Feb. 22 at the Cedars at St. Raymond’s.
This year’s honorees included:
• David C. Zimmermann, business manager, Sheet Metal Workers (SMART) Local 36, who received the Dick Mantia Labor Award;
• Anna Leavey, director of construction for the Arch Park Foundation (formerly the CityArchRiver Foundation), who received the Joe Rinke Impact Award for her work leading the Gateway Arch grounds renovation and park expansion; and
• Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), who received the Al Fleischer Management Award.
DAVID ZIMMERMANN: LEADING THE WAY IN TRAINING, FIGHTING BACK AGAINST RTW
Zimmermann was recognized for his commitment to developing the next generation of union workers and union building projects.
Local 36’s union hall and training center on Choteau Ave. in St. Louis, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified high-tech training center “stands as a monument to a vision…. It says everything about the stewardship of skill and safety that we embrace to serve our customers and building St. Louis’ future,” Construction Cooperative Co-chair Tom Heeger said.
“We train our members to work safe, work smart and be productive,” Zimmermann said, adding that all their members retain St. Louis City and County mechanical licenses, keeping them on the cutting edge of new technology.
“I can’t stress how important communication is,” Zimmermann said. “If you don’t communicate within your industry, how do you resolve issues.”
Zimmermann said the biggest issue facing union members and working families this year is the fight to defeat the phony “right-to-work” for less legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature. It’s a fight that Zimmermann was in once before, in 1978, when workers overwhelmingly defeated RTW in a public vote.
“I was there shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone in 1978,” Zimmermann said. “The house of Labor families and our industry associated defeated the issue. And I call on everyone in this room to stand united once more so we can defeat this phony ‘right-to-work’ once more and get back to working together to make our region and our state a better place for our industry and working families.
ANNA LEAVEY: WORKING TOGETHER FOR IMPROVEMENT
“The St. Louis Construction Cooperative began as a model for our region and America, with the goal of connecting labor, management and owner to improve our industry, our communities and our city,” Leavey said. “The CityArchRiver project has similar aspirations.”
When CityArchRiver began in 2007, Leavey said, one of its goals was to bring together public and private entities in partnership as a model for future development.
“The CityArchRiver project has been successful in developing those partnerships, transforming the downtown community, pushing the industry to reach aggressive diversity goals and embracing all the members of our community with broad strategies for accessibility and inclusion,” Leavey said.
In addition, CityArchRiver has served as a catalyst for other projects including hotels, a city aquarium and Ballpark Village Phase 2 to name a few.
“We can all work together to build on these successes by continuing to be innovative leaders in the region to drive change and improvement,” Leavey said. “We have much work ahead of us to continue what we have started.”
DOUG MARTIN: DELIVERING QUALITY THROUGH LABOR-MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP
Martin thanked the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, the association executives and contractors of the Council of Construction Employers and the construction owners of the community for their business, support and recognition.
He also spoke out against efforts in the Missouri Legislature to repeal the state’s Prevailing Wage laws.
Construction contractors have testified against the repeal efforts citing the importance of prevailing wage in training and retaining a highly-skilled construction workforce and helping to grow Missouri’s economy by keeping tax dollars working to build jobs in every Missouri community.
“Our defense of Prevailing Wage is an example of the trust and cooperation our labor-management partnership can achieve,” Martin said.
Closer to home, Martin thanked IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs and his members for relationship and mutual commitment the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) have achieved by working together.
Ten years ago, when the bottom dropped out of the construction industry, Martin said, NECA and Local 1 launched a strategic reinvestment initiative to fortify the skilled workforce and create new business opportunities by:
• Expanding apprenticeship recruitment and training;
• Creating an associate degree program with St. Louis Community College;
• Instituting a Craft Certification program to test the technical capability of apprentices,
• Broadening outreach to minorities and women, who today represent more than 25 percent of the industry’s apprentices;
• Partnering with the St. Louis Science Center and area schools to link STEM education programs to electrical industry careers
• Strengthening communities through programs like Rebuilding Together St. Louis and Habitat for Humanity; and
•Utilizing NECA-IBEW trust funds to provide quality healthcare and pensions for workers and generate more than $2.5 billion in investments.
“NECA and the IBEW are committed to our labor-management partnership,” Martin said. “More importantly, we have committed to deliver to our customers world class quality, value, safety and technical excellence. It’s an honor to be recognized for fulfilling SLCC’s goal of Building Better Together.”
For more information on the St. Louis Construction Cooperative, visit stlouisconstructioncooperative.org.