Career of a lifetime: Renato Favero’s 80 years of service

February 16, 2022

On October 5, 2021, SMART Local 218 celebrated the career and life of longtime member Renato Favero. Brother Favero, also known as “Notto” or “Not,” was presented with his 80-year membership plaque for good standing by General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., International Representative Paul Hayes and Business Manager Edmund Robison at a pin ceremony, alongside several colleagues.

Brother Favero’s career began at the tender age of 17 in the spring of 1941. In May, having not yet graduated from high school, Renato took the advice of his classmate’s father and applied for a job at Henson Robinson Company in Springfield, Ill. He was asked to report to work on the following Monday; however, Renato politely declined, explaining that he was still attending school. Mr. Robinson went on to petition Lanphier High School to allow the freckle-faced Italian boy to begin working early. After reviewing his grades, the high school agreed, saying, “there’s no reason he can’t go to work on Monday.” His starting wage was 37 and a half cents per hour, and union dues were five dollars for three months.

Brother Favero was not at Henson Robinson Company long before he was drafted into World War II. Renato attempted to enlist in the Marines with his buddy George. However, after telling his mother, she replied, “No you’re not! The war only kills kids your age.” Once drafted, he served as an Army combat engineer in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Germany.
After returning home from the war on March 17, 1946, Brother Favero returned to working sheet metal at Barker Lubin and Metal Air. Ed Pruitt offered him a journeyman’s position, and Renato agreed to attend an apprenticeship class offered to veterans, in the shop located at Lanphier High School, for six months. After six months, he was making 52 cents per hour under the supervision of journeymen on the job.

Brother Favero recalls doing everything by hand before the Pittsburgh machine, air hammers and the duct mate came along. “Creating 100 pounds of fittings was hard work,” he explained. His specialty was layout, and he was said to nest his fitting so tightly together that his scrap looked like the ribboned scrap created by a plasma cutter.

Renato Antonio Favero is the proud son of Fortunato Favero, an Italian coal miner who came to the United States in 1900. Renato was the 10th child (of 11) born to his mother, Pasqua Favero. Renato married his wife Rita nearly 75 years ago, and they had nine children of their own.

Paul Favero recalls his mother’s excitement when his father, Renato, was grossing $100 per week. “We’re rich!”, she told Paul. Brother Favero noted that his wages boomed in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The bulk of his career was spent at Metal Air and E.L. Pruitt Company. There he served as a shop foreman and later as superintendent. His most-memorable jobs include the Attorney General’s Building, the White Oaks Mall and the IDOT building.
He served as a trustee for the local for 25 years and retired on September 1st, 1985, after 44 years in the trade.

Today, Renato Favero is 98 years old. He is an active member of the Springfield Retirees’ Club and a revered member of SMART Local 218. He has served his family, country and local well, and we are proud to call him our brother. Congratulations on achieving 80 years of service.