Operating Engineers Local 148 Business Manager Keith Linderer retired effective 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,” Linderer said.
Brother Linderer entered the Local 148 office as business representative in September 1984, when Don Giljum was first elected business manager.
Prior to becoming business representative, he served Local 148 as a shop steward and chief shop steward for five years.
Linderer 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 Missouri system.
EXPERT IN HEALTH AND WELFARE PENSION RULES
Over the years, he became an expert in Health and Welfare and Pension rules and regulations, and was responsible for leading joint bargaining efforts for Local 148 on the Ameren Missouri properties relative to the Major Medical Plans and the Pension Plan. Linderer took the initiative in moving the Ameren Missouri 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.
Linderer became Local 148’s assistant business manager in 1999. As assistant business manager, he 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 union’s Taft-Hartley Trusted Health and Welfare Plan.
FIGHTING FOR HIS MEMBERS
Linderer began his in-depth education of Pension Plans in 1985 when Foote Mineral Company, a now defunct company, attempted to unilaterally amend the union’s 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. Linderer guided the union’s 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.
CHAIRED CHARITY BASS TOURNAMENT
Linderer 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 Linderer 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 U.S. and Canada, as a trustee.
His dedication and leadership over the years have served the members of Local 148 well.