Robert A. Soutier, recently retired president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO, was honored with a tribute dinner Friday, March 27, at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Union Hall in St. Louis, where he was honored with proclamations from the St. Louis County Council and the Missouri House and Senate, a ceremonial axe from Fire Fighters Local 2665, and congratulations from International Association of Machinists President Thomas Buffenbarger.
Soutier is retiring after nine years as council president and 44 years as a Machinist, 35 of them as an organizer and business representative for Machinists District 9, working to secure fair wages, healthcare and fair treatment of workers.
“You have a passion and commitment and you hope you can make someone’s life a little bit better,” Soutier said. “Back in 1977, the most important thing wasn’t getting $3.25 an hour, it was healthcare. It’s strange that we’re still having the same discussions today.”
Among those honoring Soutier with proclamations were from the St. Louis County Council, 5th District Councilman (president, Spinklerfitters Local 268) Pat Dolan: from the Missouri Legislature Senators Scott Sifton and Gina Walsh and Rep. Bill Otto; and Fire Fighters Local 2665 Business Manager Jeff Proctor, who presented Soutier with a ceremonial axe.
Pat White, business representative and a 26-year member of Gas Workers Local 11-6, succeeds Soutier as Labor Council President.