The Greater St. Louis Area and Vicinity Port Council honored three local labor and civic leaders during its annual dinner on September 9, but this year’s event had a different “swing” to it.
Instead of a formal dinner-dance which the PMC has hosted for the previous 35 years, the 2016 award presentations followed the Port Council’s first-ever golf outing.
“After hearing how well this change was received, we already are making plans for next year,” stated a beaming PMC President Jack Martorelli. Even several awardees during their acceptance remarks noted how relaxing and enjoyable the day had been.
Recognized following the afternoon on the links were Patrick White as Labor Man of the Year, Dennis Corrigan as Management Man of the Year, and Michael O’Mara with the Able Helmsman Award.
White, a member of the Gas Workers/USW Local 11-6 and president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, told the more than 100 in attendance he was “very honored and humbled” to receive the Labor Man of the Year Award.
He recalled attending his first Port Council dinner when he was 19 or 20 years old and thinking then, “I don’t know what these guys do, but I want to do it.
“It is an honor to represent all these [union] folks. This award would mean a lot to my dad” as he looked up feeling that his late father was with Dick Mantia, the longtime president of the PMC who passed away in 2014, watching the occasion.
In his introduction, Martorelli said both of White’s parents were union members. He spoke of White’s additional involvement in the community, including with the United Way.
Corrigan let the audience know that his grandfather’s union withdrawal card dated October 1896 still hangs in the offices of the firm he founded, Corrigan Company. He views it as ‘the birth certificate of Corrigan Company.”
He said the company was “born within the trades and has succeeded with its union partners in good times and lean times by providing good –paying jobs.
“It is an honor and I am very pleased to have this recognition,” Corrigan noted.
PMC Vice President John Stiffler informed the group that Corrigan Company was founded at the dawn of indoor plumbing and grown to serve St. Louis in many other ways. “Sixteen of the largest 20 buildings in St. Louis have Corrigan HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) installed,” pointed out Stiffler, who was just elected the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council.
O’Mara told Corrigan and the others that his first job was with Corrigan Company in 1979. A member of Plumbers and Pipefitters 562, O’Mara earned the Able Helmsman Award for his 16 years of service as a St. Louis County Councilman as well as his work with the homeless, in job training and apprenticeship programs, and as a youth soccer coach. He is the UA International Representative for Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
“It is a pleasure to be part of the Labor Movement from St. Louis,” O’Mara proclaimed. “We’ve been attacked but we’re going to survive.
“We do great work, we have great people, we give so much back to the community,” he added. “We are great Labor people here!”
O’Mara was introduced by MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan, who called him a “leader in the union and a leader in the community who is setting a true and steady course.”