By TIM ROWDEN
Thanking Organized Labor for all it does and has done for the City of St. Louis, Mayor Francis Slay presented St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White with a key to the city “for all the work that you and your organization are doing and have done for a long time for the City of St. Louis” at the recent Union Business Representatives luncheon hosted by the Council.
“I can tell you that we are proud, and we should be very proud, to have a very strong Organized Labor community in St. Louis, because it means that we have a very strong, very talented workforce in St. Louis in every respect and that’s to the credit of you, your organizations and the amount of work that you undertake on a day-to-day basis to make sure that that happens,” Slay told union representatives at the luncheon, held at Norwood Hills Country Club in Jennings.
“It’s always been a pleasure for me to work with Organized Labor in St. Louis individually with locals and also organizations like the Labor Council and the Building and Construction Trades and other organizations as well,” Slay said.
FRIEND OF LABOR
White said Slay has been a friend of Labor for years and has traveled to Jefferson City time and time again to testify against so-called “right-to-work” legislation because of the negative impact it would have on St. Louis’s working families.
“He’s done it without us having to ask,” White said. “I can’t remember a year when it’s come up for a committee hearing that he wasn’t’ there.”
Receiving the key to the city on behalf of the Labor Council, White said, was an unexpected surprise.
“I think it just shows a mutual respect that the Mayor’s Office has had for Labor all these years,” White said. “As much as he means to us, we mean to him it seems like. It’s seems like he’s very grateful for what we’ve done for the city. And we’re very grateful for all that he’s done for us.”
In introducing Slay, White listed some of the many union built projects that have been undertaken or approved under Slay’s administration, including apartment developments, work in the Washington Ave. loft district, the Cortex development, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village and the new western headquarters of the National GeoSpatial-Intelligence Agency, which is scheduled to break ground next year. And that’s just to name a few.
“This past year we are exceeding $1 billion in new construction in the City of St. Louis,” Slay said. “There’s a lot of work that’s being done. We’re expecting the number to increase as we go into the future. There are a lot of high profile projects, as Pat mentioned, that are going on. We are working on trying to get more of those things done as well. Having the talented workforce to do this to get it done is so very important, and many of you in this room are part of making that happen.
“We could not get those projects. We couldn’t do Cortex, we couldn’t do the ballpark and Ballpark Village, we wouldn’t be able to win the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency development if it were not for the leadership of Organized Labor in St. Louis to help make that happen,” Slay said. “You’ve been great partners, great to work with and I can’t thank you enough for that.”
WORKING TO ELECT WORKER-FRIENDLY CANDIDATES
Slay also thanked the union representatives in attendance for their advice and counsel over the years, and for working to elect worker-friendly candidates, something that will be especially important in this year’s elections.
“It is important to have qualified people in there that are responsive and are responsive to the concerns and the issues important to labor and to working families in St. Louis and the state of Missouri,” Slay said. “Organized Labor will be able to tilt those scales in the right direction on the ground working with people making them aware of the importance of the issues and the importance of these campaigns and these elections.”
NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION
St. Louis’s longest-serving mayor, Slay announced in April that he would not seek re-election next year. He is completing his fourth term and sixteenth year as mayor. Among those seeking to replace him are St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Police Chief Sam Dotson, Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, Alderman Antonio French and city Treasurer Tishaura Jones.
Slay surprised White with the presentation of the key to the city for the Labor Council.
White returned the favor by presenting Slay with a lifetime Union Representatives Luncheon membership and a pullover emblazoned with the St. Louis Labor Council emblem.