Fall weather allowed both the Michigan and St. Louis Port Councils to raise money for local charity and political activities during their annual golf outings.
Nearly 150 union members and their friends participated in both events.
North of Detroit, the Michigan PMC hosted its 43rd Annual Ron Krochmalny Classic on September 16. The gathering is named for the late president of the Port Council.
Current PMC President Jeannette Bradshaw welcomed everyone while Secretary-Treasurer Todd Brdak made sure food, prizes and course signs were in place.
During the presentation of door prizes and golfing awards, the PMC surprised MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan with a ship’s compass/clock for his years of service to the department. (Duncan has announced he will be retiring in 2023.)
Thirteen days later, the St. Louis PMC took to the links with its annual awards dinner immediately following.
PMC President John Stiffler presented the Able Helmsman Award to labor lawyer Jerry Fitzgerald. Stiffler, who also serves as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, said Fitzgerald takes “pride in his relationship with the Labor Movement.” He added Fitzgerald has collected millions of dollars in compensation for his clients.
Fitzgerald stated receiving the award “is an honor and privilege.” The son of a Local 1 Pipefitter, he thanked the council and acknowledged prior awardees. He added that he “dearly misses Jack Martorelli” (the late immediate past PMC president). After calling the presentation “a very special moment,” Fitzgerald said when “Labor and lawyers go together, good things will come.”
PMC Vice President John Ward had the honor of presenting Stiffler with the Dick Mantia Leadership Award. (Mantia also served as PMC president until his passing in 2014.)
Stiffler choked up as he recalled Martorelli (who passed away in 2020) wanting him to be honored for more than 10 years but he refused. He then noted a 2021 awardee and his “best friend” – Insulators Local 1 Business Manager Jerry Donovan – passed away unexpectedly six months after the dinner. He told the gathering you never know how much time you have so do what you can while you can.
“We have the Mount Rushmore of Labor leaders in this town,” he added.
The Port Council offered a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ed Finkelstein, the longtime editor, publisher and owner of the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune. In September, Finkelstein transferred ownership to the greater St. Louis Labor Movement and retired after being associated in some form or another with the paper for more than six decades.
“I am very moved and honored,” Finkelstein told the audience. “It is an honor to have spent my entire life working with the Labor Movement.”
The Air Force veteran added he had been “honored to work with the best possible staff.”
PMC Secretary-Treasurer Bryan Powell introduced Duncan as the recipient of the Jack Martorelli Leadership Award, letting the group know Duncan has the dubious distinction of being a Cleveland baseball fan.
Duncan thanked the council for the recognition, noting the department’s 75th anniversary book contains a photo of MTD President Michael Sacco with Mantia and Martorelli because they were “the Three Musketeers who rebuilt the council in the 1980s.”
In stating his affection for the union members of St. Louis, he revealed that he had been arrested in downtown in 2013 for sitting in a street blocking traffic with Mine Workers outside the Peabody Energy building when that company tried to get out of his pension obligations.