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TAUC-NMAPC Statement on the Passing of Jack Bartnett

January 28 2013

Jack’s career in the union construction industry spanned more than four decades. After serving in the U.S. Navy as a member of the Sea Bees during the Korean War, he spent 12 years scaling skyscrapers and bolting I-beams into place as an apprentice and journeyman ironworker. He went on to work for the U.S. Department of Labor and the Associated General Contractors before moving to the contractor side of the business. Jack worked for TAUC Governing Member Alberici Constructors for more than 25 years as Vice President of Labor Relations and Human Resources.

“Construction is hard, hard work,” Jack said in 1998. “Whether you’re a carpenter, ironworker, pipefitter, whatever, it’s a tough business, and it’s tough on workers…Workers have a right to ask questions and get answers. Not to be talked down to, but to be listened to. I’m available to them at all times. That’s what my job is, to communicate with the trades. To answer their questions, no matter what they are.”

From 1997 to 2007 Jack served as Management Co-Chair of the NMAPC, working alongside contractor and labor representatives to strengthen the Agreement and expand the union construction brand. Jack pointed out how effective the Agreement has been in helping owner-clients with unexpected outages and major mechanical breakdowns. “The NMAPC agreement allows us to mobilize workers quickly, go in to the plant at any time of day or night and get it running again, all [under pre-negotiated terms and conditions],” he said. “Being able to confidently tell GM, Ford, Chrysler or any other industrial owner that we’ll be over right away…our people aren’t going to picket, they’re not going to stall, and we’ll get the job done as quickly as possible, is a testament to the success we’ve had in bringing management and labor together.”

During his long tenure as a member of NEA and later TAUC, Jack served as Chairman of the Labor Committee as well as the Education/Convention Committee. He also served as a national management trustee and Co-Chairman on the Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET). In 1998 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Owners and Construction Associates (COCA). At the time, COCA Executive Director Daniel Magruder said Jack was “instrumental in achieving numerous innovative project agreements” with St. Louis unions and that “his work on the national level has contributed significantly to the cost-effectiveness of construction for our nation’s industries and utilities.” In 2001, the St. Louis Building Trades Council honored Jack with its annual “Man of the Year” award.

Jack is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sally, along with six children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Services were held Wednesday, January 30 at Lighthouse Christian Fellowship in Webster Groves, Missouri.

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