St. Louis Port Maritime Council Honors 3

 

June 2012

 

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Several hundred union members, their families and friends honored three community leaders at the Maritime Trades Department Greater St. Louis Area and Vicinity Port Council’s 32nd annual dinner on May 5.

 

David Zimmermann of Sheet Metal Workers (SMWIA) Local 36 received the Labor Man of the Year Award. George “Butch” Welsch was recognized as Management Man of the Year. The council presented U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) with its Joe Sacco Friend of Labor Award; MTD President Michael Sacco, who also serves as president of the SIU, gave the award to the senator.

 

Zimmermann serves as the president and business manager of SMWIA Local 36, where the dinner took place. He started his career with the local as an apprentice in 1973. He is a third-generation member of the Sheet Metal Workers, and noted his uncle received the same award years ago. Zimmermann saluted the way the unions, industry and community work together in St. Louis because “without their ongoing support, I wouldn’t be standing here this evening.”

 

In introducing Welsch, PMC Secretary-Treasurer and SIU Port Agent Becky Sleeper said he “may be management on paper but he’s union at heart.” He serves as president of the 117-year-old Welsch Heating and Cooling Company, where he has worked for more than 50 years. The workers at Welsch are members of SMWIA Local 36.

 

“I believe our two organizations have shown the way how things were done in the past and should be done,” Welsch said of his company and the union. “Our enemy is the competition, not each other. Together, we can do it better.”

 

McCaskill said of her being recognized by the MTD: “This is a big deal to me. I understand what the port council is. Your unions represent thousands of workers who want their voices heard. Some yahoos want to say the problem is the workers who work every day for a living wage. We know the problem is not the fire fighters, the police officers, the teachers and the men and women who belong to your unions.”

 

The senator concluded by stating she is proud “to stand up for the working men and women of this state.”

 

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