Robert Steinke, newspaper union leader, dies at 89 –

Robert A. Steinke, who led the St. Louis Newspaper Guild for nearly 20 years, died Wednesday (Aug. 10, 2016) at the St. Louis Altenheim, where he had been a resident for six weeks. He was 89.

Steinke became executive secretary, or business manager, for Newspaper Guild Local 47 in 1968 and retired in 1988. He held office with the Missouri State Labor Council in 1982 and returned to Local 47.

He was a gruff, blunt-talking labor leader and negotiator who had the respect of newspaper management. Local 47, now called the United Media Guild, represents news, advertising and business workers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other news companies.

Steinke grew up in St. Louis, graduated from the former South Side Catholic High School (now St. Mary’s) in 1944 and enlisted in the Marines. He returned home, ran a newspaper route and joined the Post-Dispatch circulation department in 1956.

He married Dorothy Mueller of St. Louis in 1950 and they moved to south St. Louis County nine years later. She died in 2012.

Steinke worked on the Newspaper Guild international staff for one year before being hired by Local 47. In addition to the Post-Dispatch, the union’s membership includes employees of KSDK-TV, the St. Louis-Southern Illinois Labor Tribune and several newspapers in Illinois.

In 1989, Steinke was elected to a term on the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

He is survived by three daughters, Cynthia Agosta of Kirkwood, and Robyn Melroy and Gayle Conway, both of South County; two brothers, James Steinke of High Ridge and Joseph Steinke of Fremont, Calif.; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Kutis South County Chapel, 5255 Lemay Ferry Road. Burial will be private at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.


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