The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, July 20, 2012

Building trades’ Gleason, Retaskie vie for state rep seats

By The Building Tradesman

Two candidates with strong ties to Michigan’s building trades unions are running for state House of Representative seats in the Tuesday, Aug. 7 primary.

Building trades members in their districts are urged to vote for Patrick “Shorty” Gleason in the 48th District (Genesee County) and Tony Retaskie in the 109th District (Alger, Luce, Marquette and Schoolcraft counties). Both are on the Democratic ticket, and both have been endorsed by the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.

“In an era when organized labor seems to be the No. 1 target by Republicans in Lansing, it would be nice to have some friends in office who know our issues and speak our language,” said Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Devlin. “Building trades workers who live in Shorty’s or Tony’s district would be doing themselves a favor by voting for them in the Aug. 7 primary.”

Both candidates are running for seats that were term limited this year. Here are some notes and quotes from both candidates.

Patrick “Shorty” Gleason: A 40-year-member and past president of Iron Workers Local 25, Shorty retired in 2010 as president of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. He has also served on the Mackinac Bridge Authority and on the Executive Board of the Michigan State AFL-CIO.

Gleason, 57, was elected in 2008 to the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, where he currently serves as chairman of the finance committee.

“I’ve been active in politics for most of my life, and working as President of the Michigan Building Trades has allowed me to have a lot of contact with state lawmakers, advocating for the men and women in the construction industry,” Gleason said upon his retirement from the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council two years ago.

Tony Retaskie: An electrician out of IBEW Local 1070 in Marquette, Tony became business manager of that local. In 2002, he left that position to become executive director of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council, who represents and promotes the interests of union trades and their contractors. That same year he was elected as a trustee to the Marquette Area Public School Board. He served from 2002-2006 and then from 2008-2011.

He is also a member of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee Inc.

“I want to represent the people of the 109th District, the people that live in this district, and they’ll have a strong voice in Lansing when I’m there. I think that when they have ideas, sometimes they’re not heard in Lansing, and that’s what I want to be able to do is bring their ideas, their concerns to Lansing with me, along with a few of my own,” said Retaskie.