IAM Bids Farewell to Retired District 9 DBR Tony Rippeto

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Retired IAM District 9 Directing Business Representative Tony Rippeto thanks those in attendance of his 35-year career retirement celebration in St. Louis.

Hundreds recently gathered at IAM District 9, St. Louis, to celebrate the career and retirement of former Directing Business Representative Tony Rippeto.

Rippeto, a 35-year Machinist, officially retired December 31, 2015.

“For the past 35 years, Tony has been an outstanding trade unionist and leader of this great union,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “His list of accomplishments is a testimony to his great leadership abilities. A true leader strengthens his followers. He teaches by setting examples and empowering others. Tony has not only been a great leader and mentor, but an inspiration to us all. He truly is a seasoned, well rounded journeyman and union leader.”

“Tony has given so much to so many, never asking for anything in return,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez, Jr., who was also on-hand for the event. “He is a true trade unionist who sacrificed his own wants and needs for Machinists Union members and the labor movement—and he’s done that year after year. It’s been a real privilege, brother. There are men and women who sleep better tonight because of you.”

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Retired IAM District 9 Directing Business Representative Tony Rippeto (second from right) was honored by (left to right) his successor and current
IAM District 9 Directing Business Representative Mark Conner, IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber, IAM International President Bob Martinez, Jr., and IAM General Vice President Rickey Wallace at a recent retirement celebration held in Rippeto’s honor.

Rippeto started his career as a member of IAM Local 777 when he helped organize his non-union truck shop in 1980. He was working as a truck mechanic. By 1982, he was a Shop Steward and local officer. As an officer, Rippeto held the positions of Sentinel, Conductor, Vice-President and Local 777 President.

He joined the staff of District 9 in 1990 as an Organizer and was elected as a Business Representative in 2001. On January 1, 2004, he was appointed to the positions of Assistant Directing Business Representative and Trustee to the District 9 Welfare and Pension Trust. On April 1, 2009, Rippeto became the Directing Business Representative of District 9 and Managing Trustee of the District 9 Welfare and Pension Trust. He was also a long serving member of the IAM Law Committee.

Rippeto is currently a delegate to the District 9 Board, St. Louis Labor Council, St. Louis Labor Council Executive Board, Missouri State Council of Machinist, Midwest States Council of Machinists, Missouri AFL-CIO Executive Board, United Way Executive Board and Guide Dogs of America Executive Board.

He was succeeded by former District 9 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mark Conner on January 1, 2016.

“The turnout for Tony was outstanding,” said Conner. “Tony was well respected by IAM leadership, our membership and the business community. His retirement is well-deserved, but he will leave a void in our union and the labor community.”

See photos from Rippeto’s retirement dinner here.