Hanging Up The Hammer: Pedi Retires As Regional Manager of Boston Carpenters Union

In Chelsea, Rich Pedi will forever be known as the phenomenal second baseman on the 1971 Chelsea Little League National League All-Star that came within a game of a state championship on the road to Williamsport.

Pedi went on to achieve athletic excellence at Pope John XXIII High School and at Chelsea High School.

In his professional career in the skilled trade of carpentry, Pedi also brought much credit to the family name. At the age of 63, Pedi retired on Sept. 30 as the North Atlantic States regional manager of the Boston Carpenters Local Unions 327 and 328. Pedi compiled 22 years of commendable service as a staff member, business agent, business manager, and regional manager in the Carpenters Union. He has been a member of the Carpenters Union for 38 years. In his important post as regional manager, Pedi led a union of 5,500 members.

I was very fortunate and honored to serve in union leadership positions,” said Pedi, who joined the carpenters’ apprenticeship program in 1985 and as a journeyman, worked as a foreman and steward. “I think my work as steward prepared me for this position [regional manager], because my job was to represent members on the job, kind of a mini-version of a business agent,” related Pedi.

A Tremendous Athlete in his Hometown

Rich Pedi is the son of former Chelsea Police Officer and U.S. Army veteran, the late Anthony Pedi and the late Jennie (Presti) Pedi. He has five brothers, Don, Andy, Ed, Bob, and Bill, and two sisters, Joan and Paula.

Rich grew up on Normandy Road before his family purchased a home on Warren Avenue. He attended Our Lady of Grace School, Pope John XXIII High School for three years, and Chelsea High School, where he graduated in 1976.

Pedi distinguished himself athletically in Chelsea youth sports and in high school. In 1971, Pedi teamed up with other Little League stars such as Paul Wheeler, Earl Vigoda, Hughie MacDonald, Peter Hanlon, Carlos Moreno, Miguel Ricart, Tommy Moscatelli, Sean Graham, Brian Archdeacon, Billy Perry, Bobby Chew,  Robert Caputo, and Cary Shuman to lead the Chelsea Nationals to the city’s best-ever finish in the Little League All-Star Tournament.

“I was also on the very first Pop Warner “A’ team in Chelsea,” said Pedi. “Joe Leonard was my line coach.”

Pedi became a three-sport (football, basketball, and baseball) athlete at Pope John and Chelsea High (football,track, and Baseball) as well. As a football player at Chelsea High, he was a defensive back and backup quarterback to David Molloy. He was also a brilliant pitcher and shortstop for the Pirates in the Chelsea Pony League, where he was coached by the legendary James “Bear” Burke.

His Early Career

Rich Pedi held other jobs before entering the field of carpentry. He worked for an air freight company and a small airlines company (Bar Harbor).

“Those positions were kind of interesting,” said Pedi. “I was the ramp foreman and it taught me to be a leader.”

Pedi said he was always mechanically inclined, but he never took a trade in school.

“I first worked at Bradlees in Chelsea. My mother was one of Bradlees’ original employees when it opened,” said Pedi. “I also worked in the publicity department at Wonderland Greyhound Park.”

Taking Pride in His Record as a Union Official

Pedi said as regional manager of the union he would attend many local planning and zoning meetings and connect with developers.

“I tried to work directly with developers to hire union contractors which would allow my members to work and earn a decent wage with benefits,” said Pedi. “One of my main goals was that I tried to put in provisions that would put local people to work, people that actually live in the community where the jobs are. I still have my roots in Chelsea and that’s always been important to me, helping local people.”

Pedi is very proud of his record as a union official.

“I always say I was very blessed to be in this position because I could help people that needed the help,” said Pedi. “I was part of several contract negotiations. You have to be able to hold your ground. A lot of people say that one of my best qualities is that I know empathy and my ability to listen to the other person’s side. I don’t have to agree with it, but I’ll listen to it, and then make a decision based on all the information.”

Pedi said he was also proud of his record in helping women secure employment in the construction trades. “As an example, I would say that 95 percent of the women that worked on building the Wynn Boston Harbor Resort and Casino in Everett are now working and making a good living. I’m proud of that,” he said.

Pedi attended numerous events in Chelsea and surrounding communities and built relationships with Chelsea City Managers Jay Ash and Tom Ambrosino, State Reps. Dan Ryan, Jessica Giannino, Joe McGonagle, and Adrian Madaro. Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, and former Boston Mayor and current Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh.

A Proud Father

Rich and his wife, Lauren, have been married for 22 years. They have three sons, Chris, a U.S. Army veteran, who was a standout long distance runner at Columbia University and now competes in marathons, Dominic, who is a starting defensive tackle for the University of New England football team, and Alex, who is a proud member of the Carpenters Union.

Praise from Leaders and Legislators

Rich Pedi has been receiving a steady stream of congratulatory wishes from union colleagues and friends. City managers and legislators are praising his many years of dedication and service and for the professionalism he demonstrated during negotiations and conferences.

Former City Manager Jay Ash, who led the city’s total transformation of the Everett Avenue district, said, “Rich has been a loyal defender of working people and huge champion of the communities they live in. His efforts have always been waged by others, and his impact has been to make life better for those relying on him.”

State Rep. Dan Ryan also lauded Pedi’s leadership as a union official.

“Rich has been a staunch advocate for the men and women in the building trades his whole career,” said Ryan. “More importantly, he remained a loyal son of Chelsea. I congratulate Rich on a great career, and I offer my best wishes for the future.”

Said Rep. Jessica Giannino, “I’m so grateful for Rich’s years of advocacy and friendship on behalf of the Boston Carpenters Union. I will greatly miss his presence and wish him all the best in this next chapter.”

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