Richard McClees: Labor Leader of the Year

Date: Sept. 8, 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Labor Unions

RICHARD McCLEES: LABOR LEADER OF THE YEAR -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 08, 2004)


Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker and colleagues, today I recognize Richard McClees as the 2004 Labor Leader of the Year. This award will be given by the San Diego Labor Community at the Twenty-Second Annual John S. Lyons Memorial Banquet on September 11, 2004.

Rich, as he is known, is currently Chief International Representative of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association. He comes from a strong union background. His father, Charles McClees, now retired, was a 54-year member of Sheet Metal Workers' Local 206, and two of Rich's brothers, Mike and Chuck, are current members. His older brother, Dwight, recently retired as a San Diego City teacher/school principal with 34 years of membership in the teachers' union. His sister, Margaret, is employed by the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council.
Rich began working on his father's tuna boat at the age of 12. Until he was 18, he spent each summer on the Pacific Ocean, from Mexico to Washington state, fishing for albacore tuna. Upon his graduation from high school in 1968, Rich joined Sheet Metal Workers' Local 206 and began working at California Neon Products. In 1970, he entered the
apprenticeship program at Standard Sheet Metal Works. His work during this period included the sheet metal
restoration of the historic 1880s Villa Montezuma at 15th and K Streets in San Diego.

Rich completed his apprenticeship in 1974, receiving the Apprentice of the Year Award from Mesa College, winning the Regional 10 Apprentice Contest for Sheet Metal Apprentices, and competing in the National Apprenticeship Contest in Minneapolis. In 1976, he began his eighteen years at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, working for University Mechanical Engineering Contractors.

As early as 1979, Rich began teaching apprenticeship classes for Local 206. He also coached his daughter's and son's soccer teams and was an active participant in many other of their extracurricular activities. He was elected Business Representative of the Sheet Metal Workers' Local 206 in 1994. In 1996, he became the Apprenticeship Coordinator for Local 206, in addition to his duties as Business Representative. He was also a member of the San Diego and California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association.

In 2000, Rich was elected Business Manager/Financial Secretary Treasurer of Local 206, while continuing his duties as Local 206 Apprenticeship Coordinator. He also served on the Executive Board of the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers, as a Trustee of the Sheet Metal Workers of Southern California, Arizona and Nevada Pension and Health Funds, as Vice-President of the National City Parks Apartments, as President of the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, and as an Executive Board Member of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

He is currently attending the George Meany National Labor College and will soon receive his Bachelor of Arts Degree. On April 1, 2004, Rich was appointed by Michael J. Sullivan, General President of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, as Chief International Representative/Director of Jurisdiction for the Washington, D.C.
office, and he resides in Arlington, Virginia. His daughter and son and their families live in San Diego.

The banquet at which Rich will be presented with his award is named in recognition of the late John Lyons of the Teamsters who was very active in the San Diego community. He was a founder of the San Diego Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America. The friends of Mr. Lyons continue to support his cause, and proceeds from the yearly banquets are used to support bone marrow testing and local research grants. Since its inception, the John Lyons Memorial Banquet has raised over one million dollars.

Through his dedication and willingness to serve, Rich has done much to advance the cause of the labor movement, and my congratulations go to Rich McClees for his significant contributions. He is highly deserving of the 2004 Labor Leader of the Year Award.