The Chicago and Western Lakes Port Council honored as its Unionist of the Year an activist with more than 30 years in the movement.
Richie Mathis told the nearly 100 attending the PMC luncheon on June 23 that he was “proud to be a part of labor and proud to be part of the Port Council” upon receiving the award.
Mathis is the retired president and business manager for Roofers and Waterproofers Local 11. But don’t let the term “retired” fool you. He is still an international vice president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers, still the secretary-treasurer of the Will County (Illinois) Central Trades, still a trustee for the Will County Labor Record (a union publication) and still a vice president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He explained you can’t really retire from the Labor Movement once it is in your blood.
During his acceptance remarks, Mathis gave a back-handed acknowledgement to Illinois’ new governor, who has been attacking unions since being sworn in this year, for unifying labor.
“This governor has woke up labor,” Mathis declared. “He has opened a can of whoop-ass, and we are closer than we were in the past.”
Last year’s awardee (and past PMC president) Tom Faul introduced Mathis, calling him somebody ‘who stands up for his membership.”