Catholic Council Honors Vincent McElroen: National BCTD President Ayers Addresses Annual Breakfast

Council members Peter O’Mally and Stanley Mark read the sacred readings during the 76th Annual Communion Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Among the participants at Mass were: (l to r): Council Advisor Austin McCann, IBEW Vice President Donald Siegel, National BCTD President Mark Ayers, IBEW President Ed Hill and Local 3 Business Manager Christopher Erikson.

The Imperial Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel was fi lled to near capacity for the Breakfast following Mass at St. Patrick’s.

On Sunday, May 1st, the Catholic Council of Electrical Workers celebrated their 76th Annual Communion Mass and Breakfast. The Annual Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue and the Breakfast was at the Imperial Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd Street. Both the Mass and Breakfast was attended by over 800 members and their families. Co-celebrating the Mass was Council Chaplain Fr. Brian Jordan OFM and Fr. Francis Gasparek OFM , of St. John’s Church 31st Street in Manhattan.
Present were numerous dignitaries of the trade union movement including IBEW President Ed Hill, IBEW Vice-Presidents Donald Siegel and Frank Carroll, NYS AFL-CO President Denis Hughes, Local 3 Business Manager Christopher Erikson and President John E. Marchell, NYC Building and Construction Trades Council President Gary ­LaBarbara and guest speaker, President of the National Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO Mark Ayers.
The Breakfast was toastmastered by Council Advisor Austin McCann. Council President Gerard Reddy opened the Breakfast welcoming all who gave of their time and resources to make the Mass and Breakfast, the largest Communion Breakfast of its type in the nation, a success. He also recognized Breakfast Chairman Michael McCann and Ticket Chairman Edward Campbell for their work at attending to every detail pertaining to the Breakfast.
Austin McCann set the tone of the Breakfast with his congenial opening remarks that put everyone in attendance at ease and looking forward to the awarding of the scholarships and remarks of President Ayers. First on the agenda was the awarding of a statue of St. Joseph the Worker to Council “Man of the Year,” Local 3 Financial Secretary Vincent McElroen.
In accepting the award McElroen thanked the Council for the recognition and urged those present to remain true to their trade union values which are reflected in what Catholicism refers to as “Corporal Works of Mercy.” He reminded them that the work of the trade union movement and each member is the fulfillment of these charitable works. In addition he urged them to reject doubt about their decisions regarding those ­political leaders and representatives they have elected, reminding them that doubt has caused a change in the leadership in the nation’s House of Representatives and the resulting anti-union agenda its leadership is pushing.
NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes urged everyone to keep abreast of the ever- changing political climate and to be prepared to respond to attacks against the trade union movement here in New York as well as in Washington, D.C.
After his brief remarks to the Breakfast, IBEW 3rd District Vice President Donald ­Siegel introduced President Mark Ayers. President Ayers, in his keynote remarks, pointed out in detail the challenges being confronted by trade unions and workers across America. He stated that the “Tea Party” coupled with the Republican Party have “high jacked” the political agenda in Washington and in State Houses and Governorships across the country. He pointed out the attacks in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina and other states. “We must remain vigilant in responding to every attack against the rights of workers.”
Business Manager Erikson stated he welcomed the opportunity to speak with those present and reflect on how the principles and values of Catholicism are reflected in the principles and values of trade unionism. He urged them to support the efforts of Local 3 and the broader trade union movement in its work at defending the rights of all workers.
Between speakers, Toastmaster McCann recognized the family of past president Robert Cassicio who passed away in December and the passing of James Conroy, the Pipe Major of the Sword of Light Band. Vice-President Frank Carroll presented the Band with a
citation for its participation in the Bridgeport, Conn. St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
With the completion of the speaker portion of the Breakfast the Scholarships were awarded. The winners of the Fr. T. Patrick Morris Scholarship were Christopher Collins and Robert Wallace. Christopher is the son of Council member Gene Collins and his wife Paula. He is a graduate of Massapequa H.S. and will be pursuing a bachelor of science in accounting at SUNY Oneonta. Robert is the son of Council member Robert and Maureen Collins and grandson of Council member James O’Keefe. He is a senior at Charminade H.S. in Mineola, L.I. He will be attending Holy Cross in the fall. Both Christopher and Robert are members of the National Honor Society.
The winner of the 28th Terence Cardinal Cooke Scholarship was Sarah Quinn, daughter of member Timothy Quinn
The winner of the 22nd Robert A. Reddy post-graduate scholarship was Kathryn ­Burbige, daughter of retired member William ‘Billy” Burbige.

“Man of the Year” Vincent McElroen(center) with (l to r) Breakfast Chairman Michael McCann, Council President Gerard Reddy, McElroen, Business Manager Christopher Erikson and Council Advisor Austin McCann.

NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes addressing the Breakfast.

National BCTD President Mark Ayers was the Keynote speaker at the Breakfast.

The family of past-president Robert Cassicio. (L to r): Daughters Jennifer, Linda (wife) and Robyn.