Illinois Retiree Honored with 75-year Veterans Badge

George Kober, a former Tool and Die Maker and member of IAM Local 1000 in Bloomington, IL, was recently presented with a 75-year veterans badge from District 8 Directing Business Representative Steve Jones.

“This is the proudest day of my life receiving this from the organization I hold so near and dear to my heart,” said the 96-year old Kober upon receiving the 75-year badge, which was accompanied by a certificate and gold life membership card.

Prior to becoming an IAM member, George worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he made $30 per month. Kober recalled he would keep five dollars for himself and send the other 25 dollars home for his family. “Thank God for President Roosevelt who is responsible for putting people back to work during the Great Depression,” said Kober.

Kober joined the IAM in 1937 while working at Meadows Company in Bloomington, IL. George was later involved in successfully organizing General Electric in Bloomington, IL where he worked from 1955 until 1980. He takes great pride in the contract that secured a minimum wage of 50 cents per hour with paid vacations and insurance. Kober proudly said, “GE went from a sweatshop to a union shop the day we voted in the IAM.”

Several other IAM Local 1000 retirees attended the celebration including two members of the original organizing team. They were former Directing Business Representative Coleman Smith, Wayne Warner and Pete Fridmansky.

“We sincerely appreciate all the work done by George and all the men and women that have come before us,” said Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber. “They laid the foundation for the labor movement and made a better world for all of us who follow in their footsteps.”