Dorotha Jean “Dottie” LaBolt Bilbrey, 86, Greensburg, passed away on Monday, December 31, 2018 at her residence. She was born on May 24, 1932 in Greensburg to parents Albert Alley and Anna “Mae” (Worland) LaBolt. The family moved to Adams, Indiana where her parents owned and operated the LaBolt General Store. She graduated from St. Paul High School in 1950 and was the class president. Dottie operated an ice cream store for one year before moving to Indianapolis where she graduated from Indiana Business College. While working, a good friend introduced Dottie to a young soldier from Venice, Illinois, Claude B. Bilbrey. They fell in love and were married on July 3, 1954. Claude and Dottie lived in Colorado where Claude finished his Army duties, then moved to Venice, Illinois. They raised four children, Jim, Dan, Susan, and Julie. She worked during these years as an executive secretary in banks and at Stix, Baur, and Fuller in St. Louis. In 1965, the Bilbrey family moved to Greensburg and owned and operated LaBolt’s Motel from 1965-1993. Dottie was active at St. Mary’s Church serving as a Eucharistic Minister, the funeral meal committee, Parish Council, religious education teacher, and along with Claude were pre-marriage chairmen for 30 years, mentoring many engaged couples and they were also named “Lay Persons of the Year” in 2004. Dottie was an avid quilter and became a co-owner of Colonial Quilts in the courthouse square. She was a member of several quilt guilds and judged and taught classes in quilting. She served as president of the Columbus Star Quilters. Her favorite pastime was playing canasta and bunko. Her many friends were a joy and the comradery was important to her. Dottie was a member of the Sigma Chapter of Psi Iota Xi, where she was active with their many fundraising events and she became a national office as the Southeast District Representative and Editor. Dottie loved her family and was very involved in their activities, interests, and was always ready to help in any way possible. She is survived by her husband, Claude, her four children Jim of Columbus, Ohio, Dan (Joyce) of South Bend, Susan (Hank) Martin and Julie (Mike) Mentz both of Greensburg, 16 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her three siblings, Harold (Catherine) LaBolt, Sarasota, Florida, Charles (Gloria) LaBolt, Zionsville, Janice (Ralph) Stacy, Zionsville; Many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents and one great granddaughter. Family and friends will gather at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home to pray the rosary. Visitation will follow until 8:00 p.m. at the Porter-Oliger-Pearson Funeral Home in Greensburg. The funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greensburg with Rev. John Meyer and Rev. John Geis co-officiating. Interment will follow at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Greensburg. Memorials may be to any of the following: Batesville Quiltmakers Guild in care of LeAnne Hankel 11 Arbor Lane, Batesville,In 47006; Tree City Quilters in care of Susan Wilson, 602 E Main St. Greensburg, In 47240; Columbus Star Quilters in care of Linda Reid, 3345 Grove Parkway, Columbus, Indiana 47203. Online condolences can be made to the family at www.popfuneralhome.com
WORKERS: The County Federation of Labor will renegotiate contracts for more than 200,000. By Rick Orlov STAFF WRITER Los Angeles County’s largest and most powerful labor union is bracing for one of its busiest years in recent history as contracts for more than 200,000 workers are up for renegotiation. But the turmoil has quieted and this year saw only protracted negotiations for a new grocery-worker contract as the federation has joined immigration activities and sought out new affiliations. “Maria Elena has done well in coordinating and consolidating her power,” said Kent Wong of the UCLA Labor Center. “She has a lot of respect among all the unions, and she has spent her time running the County Fed. It’s a big job.” The federation saw some success in organizing security guards, but efforts to unionize and get a living wage for workers at hotels near Los Angeles International Airport have been blocked by the business community in one of its rare fights against labor. “It was one of the few times in recent years that we saw the business community step up to fight the unions,” said Tom Hogan-Esch, a political science professor at California State University, Northridge, and from the Center of Southern California Studies. “The business community was concerned that the living wage plan would be applied on a geographic basis and if it could apply to the hotels around LAX, it could be applied anywhere. Business is tremendously concerned about this as a precedent.” But what may be more surprising, he said, is just how many times the business community goes along with the labor movement’s agenda – a testament to its political power in the region and the state. “In some respects, Los Angeles labor is in a better position than labor across the country. It has recognized the changing economy and adapted to it. Los Angeles is probably one of the few bright spots nationally among unions,” he said. Theme is rebuilding middle class Durazo said a key union concern now is dealing with a growing wage gap in California. Citing a report showing 40 percent of new jobs pay less than $11 an hour, Durazo said the union has been working on a theme of rebuilding the middle class. “We can’t do that at $11 an hour,” Durazo said. “What you are talking about when you have that is that it leads full circle to what kind of education are we giving our kids, what incentives are we giving them to go out there and learn? Without that incentive, you are looking at kids dropping out, joining gangs and seeing an increase in crime. “Unions can help solve that problem by creating higher-paying jobs that offer incentives and a good quality of life.” Not all agree with the rosy assessments, however. “To me, the labor movement continues to struggle,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. “They have been successful in the government sector, but if you look at traditional labor unions across the country, Los Angeles is different. “We don’t have the United Auto Workers or the manufacturing unions anymore that produced the old-line union membership. The economics have changed, and we are operating in a global environment, and in many cases the unions don’t get it.” Flexing political muscle Another issue facing the labor movement is a relative lack of attention among the public, said David Abel, publisher of The Planning Report. “The labor movement is little understood by anyone not in it,” Abel said. “The general public and the civic community doesn’t consider it much of a factor because the balance of power has shifted to the public sector. I don’t think the general public or the business community really appreciate the dynamic of that.” Local officials do, however. The County Fed has powerful allies across the state – from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a majority of the Los Angeles City Council to Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, who once served as political director of the County Fed. Most members of the Los Angeles delegation in the state Legislature and Congress also have strong labor ties. And with the presidential election this year, unions are flexing their political muscle. All of the Democratic candidates appeared at a recent AFL-CIO debate and pledged to back union issues. “What was important about that is that the questions came from working people,” Durazo said. “And their questions showed what they are concerned about. “Yes, everyone is concerned about Iraq. That is No. 1. But beyond that, people are concerned about whether they will have their job tomorrow. What happens to their pension if their company shuts down after 30 years? What will they do for health care? “These are the bread-and-butter issues that working families worry about. This is what is causing insecurity in the country.” But Durazo has also broadened the union’s approach with a unique arrangement negotiated earlier this year with unions in Shanghai, China. Comparing it to a Sister City relationship, Durazo said it creates the potential for an alliance with the two largest port cities in Asia. “What we want to do is increase understanding,” Durazo said. “You can only do that with face-to-face meetings and contact. We went there to see how they operate, and we want to bring them here to show that what they do affects how we operate.” Effort to unionize truck drivers The deal comes at a key time, as contracts are up this year for the longshore and warehouse unions at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. There also is a major effort to unionize the 16,000 independent truck drivers that deliver goods from the ports. Barbara Maynard, who is working with the independent truckers, said the campaign is similar to one being waged against FedEx, which employs independent truckers but provides no benefits. “What we have at the ports are about 16,000 drivers who are effectively employees of the shippers, but have no rights,” Maynard said. “If they get injured on the job, there is no workers’ compensation. There is no health insurance.” If the organizing effort is successful, it could affect other industries that try to avoid paying benefits to temporary workers, Maynard said. While labor watchers acknowledge Durazo has stabilized the County Fed, now many are waiting for her to emerge as a forceful visible presence of unions. A fiery advocate of her members when she headed the Unite Here union of hotel and restaurant workers, Durazo has been decidedly more low key and taken a lower profile than her most recent predecessors. “I think she will be more public soon,” Maynard said. “What she has done is focus on where we’re headed – and it very much has to do with rebuilding the middle class – and you will see that in negotiations this year on contracts for the lowest paid to the highest.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Workers in high-profile industries including entertainment, education, health care and shipping are set to sign new deals, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, will be the central organizing point for building coalitions. While Maria Elena Durazo has kept a low-profile this year as the new secretary-treasurer of the County Fed, she has used the time to solidify her position – and the union’s – for the discussions ahead. “The last time we had these many contracts affecting so many workers was in 2000,” Durazo said. “We did well then, and I’m confident we will be able to get through this year.” The County Fed’s relatively subdued past year has marked a sharp contrast to previous turmoil that had wracked the organization, which serves as an umbrella group for more the 600 unions and 800,000 workers in the region. Durazo was elected to a four-year term at the helm of the federation in mid-2006, taking over from her husband, the late Miguel Contreras. At the time, the union was divided by national disputes and city employee unions were agitating for parity with raises given to Department of Water and Power workers.