By CARL GREEN
East Alton – Terry Biggs, a member of the United Steelworkers, has been hired as the new labor liaison in the Southwest Illinois Division of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. He replaces Bill Jakich, who retired.
Biggs, 46, will work within the partnership between United Way of St. Louis and the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. He spent 20 years at Granite City Steel in the business planning department and as a member of Steelworkers Local 1899. He was laid off in February as the plant moved toward its current shutdown.
“He’s a very well-liked guy throughout the locals,” Federation President B. Dean Webb said. “I’m excited. I think he’s going to jump right in there. He’ll do a real good job.”
Biggs was chosen in a selection process that included both the Federation and the United Way of St. Louis. His first day on the job was June 13.
“Terry has the experience, the talent and the heart to make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters, as well as to address some of the critical issues we face in the Metro East area,” said Roz Sherman Voellinger, vice president in the Labor Participation Department of United Way of St. Louis.
Jakich served for 20 years as a United Way labor liaison, working in the Tri-Cities Area United Way office in Granite City office and then working in the Southwest Illinois office in East Alton.
SO LONG, BILL
This past February, Jakich was presented with a distinguished service award by Catholic Charities.
“Bill has worked with Labor and community partners to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our community,” Voellinger said. “We all wish Bill the very best in his retirement.”
As a Local 1899 delegate to Torch Club, the Steelworkers’ charity arm, Biggs met with new hires to explain how their contributions benefit the community through Torch Club’s financial support for United Way.
He served on the local’s executive board and in a variety of committee positions. He also is a graduate of the United Steelworkers International Union Leadership Program.
Biggs served in the U.S. Army in Iraq from January, 1989, through May, 1993. He said his military experience helps him appreciate the value of teamwork and cooperation.
When everybody works together, things just go a lot better,” he said. “I’m very excited about this opportunity to help out a lot more brothers and sisters.”
United Way and the AFL-CIO have had a partnership since just after World War II. Liaisons work with unions and their members to encourage participation in fund-raising campaign, provide direct assistance to union members through United Way when needed, assist with community projects and services, and represent the Labor Community within the United Way organization.
Voellinger said the United Way of St. Louis is notable for the depth and strength of its Labor Liaison program, which has five liaisons.