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January 3, 2023

Joseph T. Ashdale retires from DC 21 after 40+ years

Joseph AshdaleIt is with mixed emotions AGMA announces Joe Ashdale, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer (BMST) of District Council 21, and a friend and colleague, will retire at the end of this year, effective December 31, 2022. While our organization wishes Joe well in what is sure to be fulfilling days ahead, he will be greatly missed.

Joe, being the quiet person he is, was not going to “make a big deal” about his departure, but AGMA asked the leader of the District Council for 10 years to offer a few thoughts before he stepped out of the role he cherished.

“I began my apprenticeship in 1979 back at a time when you could sign up when you were 17, but you had to wait until you were 18 to get in,” recollects Joe. “I still remember I was in my hardball uniform when my dad, who was also a glazier said to me ‘come on, you’re coming down to the Hall to sign up’, that started a career that spanned over four decades.”

In those 40+ years serving the men and women of District Council 21, Joe worked his way up the ranks of Council, serving on numerous committees, holding political action positions, and co-chairing jointly trusted funds, culminating in serving for 10 years as the Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer. After calling Joe his mentor, Jimmy Williams, Jr., General President of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), recently said, “I still get chills anytime I’m around DC 21’s Hall, with hundreds of people coming together – the pride, passion, and history this [union] has is what truly makes [us] great.” His feelings are a testament to the years of stewardship Joe has carefully undertaken on behalf of the thousands of craftworkers and hundreds of signatory employers.

Anyone who knows Joe knows his concern for the well-being of others extends beyond his union brothers and sisters to the men, women, and children of his Mayfair home neighborhood and beyond. He has been active for decades with his alma mater, Father Judge High School, as well as his late wife Arlene’s alma mater, St. Hubert’s High School (to name only two) to ensure those in need have tuition, food to eat, even prom dresses available to make young people feel as special as they are. Joe will undoubtedly continue these passion pursuits into retirement and he is grateful to have had the support from so many employers for his charitable works over the years. “We help each other out, that’s just what we do,” says Joe. “You see someone in need and you help. I appreciate our employers understand that too. Many of them have contributed over the years, taking care of our people, donating time, money, or material to our causes, or donating time to our jointly managed funds; it is all important in its own way.”

Beyond continuing with his charitable works, Joe is looking forward to lending a helping hand to his union family from time to time, but what he is most looking forward to is spending time with his three children, his four bonus children, their spouses, and his eleven grandchildren, nieces, and nephews – and maybe some fishing.

“I’ve had an amazing career,” notes Joe. “I’ve been fortunate to work with some terrific people, from people in the field, to politicians, to employers, to our people in the office. I’m honored to have worked with all of you. There’s been some crazy times for sure, but on the whole, it’s been memorable to watch the finishing trades grow and change over the last four decades. We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go yet. I have full confidence in the team behind me. I know they will do great things. I’m proud of them already, as I’m proud of all of the men and women of DC 21 and of our employer partners. Thank you for some excellent memories.”

AGMA wishes Joe well in retirement and knows he will enjoy the time with his beloved family, but we also look forward to seeing him from time to time at Council functions, AGMA get togethers, etc.

Joe, from your time as an apprentice at Eureka, to your time as a shop steward at RA Kennedy and Sons, to your time as BMST, you have always fought for what you believed in. AGMA recognizes that and urges you to continue to fight for the health, safety, and well-being of those around you. Be well friend.

Beginning on January 1, 2023, Francis (Fran) McLaughlin will take over as Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer (BMST). Mr. McLaughlin began his career as a commercial painter and has served most recently as Director of Servicing and then Assistant BMST.

AGMA would like to congratulate Mr. McLaughlin on his appointment.