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St Louis PMC Honors Architects of RTW Defeat

Missouri AFL-CIO Pres Mike Louis thanks the Port Council for its award.

The 2018 edition of the Greater Missouri Area and Vicinity Port Council golf outing served as a celebration of last month’s statewide ballot victory defeating a right-to-work (for less) measure passed by the state legislature last year.

With the resounding 67-33 rejection of the bill on August 7, Missouri became the first state where its voters overturned such an enacted law. [The margin far surpassed the 60-40 vote by Show-Me State voters in 1978 when right-to-work (for less) was first proposed.]

In receiving the PMC’s “Richard Mantia Labor Man of the Year” Award on September 7, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis thanked everyone involved in the nearly two-year long battle to first stop, then reject, the anti-worker legislation.

“Defeating right-to-work is not about Mike Louis,” he told the more than 200 attending. “This was a long, hard fight.”

As he introduced the Missouri AFL-CIO staff and others who led the campaign, he reminded everyone that the fight against those wanting to hurt worker interests is not over.

After introducing (and thanking) his wife and family members in the audience, Louis, a member of Machinists Local 777, added that receiving the award is “a real honor.”

In addition, Louis praised the working relationship he has with the Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Jake Hummel, who was the recipient of the PMC’s “Able Helmsman” Award.

“Jake and I started as sergeant-at-arms [at state AFL-CIO meetings] 16 years ago. Our friendship continues to grow. He is an incredible guy to work with.”

“When Mike and I took over the [Missouri] AFL-CIO, Mike had the foresight” to see what would possibly happen in the next couple of years, Hummel stated after he received his award.

The 20-year member of IBEW Local 1 told the gathering that Louis planned ahead “to put us in a position to be victorious.

“Everybody in this room did something to defeat right-to-work,” Hummel added.

After declaring “Organized Labor is in a position we haven’t been in a long time,” Hummel said it was time to “go out and start organizing people; raise wages and fight for a higher standard of living. The wind is at our back! Membership is rising!”

Like Louis, he introduced and thanked his family.

When he introduced Louis for his award, PMC Vice President John Stiffler thanked the state fed president for his efforts to roll back right-to-work (for less). Stiffler pointed out Louis’ father was member of Cement Workers Local 36. After starting as an apprentice in 1973, Louis climbed the ladder within the Machinists, becoming the union’s state council president in 2004. In September 2012, he was the Missouri AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer. He moved up to its president two years later.

MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan introduced Hummel, noting “a captain oversees the operations aboard a ship while an able helmsman keeps the ship on a true course. And that is what Brother Hummel did in the fight to defeat right-to-work.” In addition to his work with the labor federation, Hummel served in the Missouri House of Representatives for eight years before being elected to the state senate in 2016.

Duncan also thanked the union members of Missouri, for their work and vote in August, “You have no idea what you have done for the whole Labor Movement.”

PMC President Jack Martorelli bestowed the “Management Person of the Year” Award on Jeremy Deutsch, president of the Machinists-contracted Standard Machine and Manufacturing Company. Unfortunately, Deutsch had to be out of town. David Yuill, production manager at Standard, stood in and thanked the Port Council for the recognition.

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