Business Manager Keith Linderer announced that he will be stepping down As business manager of the Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 148 on May 1, 2023. “After 12 years as business manager and 39 years as a full-time representative of the union I am finally ready to retire,” he told The Gauge.
Keith entered the office as business representative in September 1984 when Don Giljum was first elected business manager.
Prior to becoming business representative, Keith served Local 148 as a shop steward and chief shop steward for five years.
Keith joined Local 148 in 1972 and worked as a laborer, machinist apprentice, and journeyman machinist at the Venice and Meramec power plants in the Ameren MO system.
Over the years Keith became an expert in Health and Welfare and Pension rules and regulations. He was responsible for leading joint bargaining efforts for Local 148 on the Ameren MO properties relative to the Major Medical Plans and the Pension Plan. Keith took the initiative in moving the Ameren MO pension plan from a static defined benefit plan, where increases to the plan had to be negotiated every contract term, to a final average pay defined benefit plan that increased the workers pension every time wages were increased.
After serving as a business representative Keith became the assistant business manager in 1999. As assistant business manager Keith took over responsibility for all health and welfare and pension plans covering all Local 148 members with various employers. He also was a trustee for the unions Taft-Hartley Trusted Health and Welfare Plan.
Keith began his in depth education of Pension Plans when in 1985 Foote Mineral Company, a now defunct company, attempted to unilaterally amend our Taft-Hartley trusted pension plan. The Company decided that $4 million dollars in excess plan funds should revert to them instead of the members of Local 148 as the plan prescribed.
By eliminating Giljum and Linderer as union Trustees they claimed that the Management Trustees had become the sole trustees of the plan and therefore had the right to claim the $4 million dollars as theirs. Local 148 sued the company. Keith guided our legal counsel step by step through the arguments. He demonstrated why this was illegal and Local 148 was able to convince the company to negotiate a settlement. The end result was that all $4 million dollars was divided among Local 148 members who were vested in the plan.
Keith also chaired Local 148’s Charity Bass Tournament from its inception in 1988. Over the 34 years that Local 148 has hosted the bass tournament it has raised in excess of $2 million for charity.
When Keith assumed the position of business manager upon the retirement of Don Giljum in 2011, he was appointed to the Greater St. Louis Central Labor Council Executive Board, as well as to the Missouri AFL-CIO’s executive board. He also joined the IUOE’s International General Pension Fund covering IUOE members in the US and Canada, as a trustee.
Keith’s dedication and leadership over the years has served the members of Local 148 well and he will be greatly missed by all of us.
Good Luck to a long and well deserved retirement.