October/November 2011

index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to www.ibew.org
Michael H. Namadan

We regret to report that retired Third District International Representative Michael H. Namadan died July 17 at the age of 90.

A native of Rochester, Pa., Brother Namadan initiated into Beaver Local 712 in 1947 as an inside wireman apprentice. He traveled extensively, working in both Delaware and Ohio, before returning to Beaver in 1950. He went on to serve as the local's president before his election as business manager in 1952.

During his tenure as business manager, the local started a benefits fund and beefed up its apprenticeship program.

In 1959, Namadan was appointed a Third District International Representative. He helped lead several successful organizing drives in Lancaster, which at the time was a center for the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors.

He was also active in the local labor movement, serving as president of the Beaver County Building Trades and as vice president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

In 1977, Brother Namadan, along with then-Third District International Vice President J.J. Barry and then-Local 712 Business Manager Edwin D. Hill, headed up the IBEW's relief efforts in Johnstown, Pa. which suffered from disastrous floods that summer.

Speaking at the 38th International Convention, Hill told delegates that Namadan "was there every step of the way through my involvement in politics, my involvement in the community, and my involvement in the trade union movement."

Namadan retired in 1982. In an article submitted to the IBEW Journal in honor of his career, Local 712's press secretary wrote: "Mike has been assigned many arduous tasks, so many assignments that I'm sure he could write a book on his experience. He has fulfilled them to a letter, and knows that the International is appreciative of his efforts."

In retirement he enjoyed golf and spending time with his family.

Brother Namadan is survived by his wife Evelyn, two children, two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his oldest son, Robert, who was a Local 712 member.

On behalf of the members of the IBEW, the officers and staff send our condolences to Brother Namadan's friends and family.

Michael H. Namadan

Arthur J. Jones

Retired Ninth District International Representative Arthur J. Jones died on September 12. A memorial service was held during the 38th IBEW Convention in Vancouver to honor his life and contributions to the union.

International Representative Juanita Luiz, IBEW Political and Legislative Department, who worked closely with Jones, says, "Everyone at the memorial service agreed that Art was a great IBEW mentor."

A founding member and one of the first chairmen of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus, Jones "had a huge influence on the IBEW and the EWMC and helped enhance the credibility of the IBEW through his organizing and his leadership," says Ninth District International Representative Keith Edwards.

"Art Jones left a gigantic footprint on the IBEW and the labor movement. His contribution will live on through the many sisters and brothers he mentored," added Edwards.

Initiated into Redwood City, Calif., Local 1969 in 1963, where he worked at Lenkurt Electric, a large manufacturing plant, Brother Jones served as a picket captain during a 1963 strike, then as a rank-and-file chairman of a 1968 strike.

Jones's leadership ability was recognized with his appointment as the local's business manager in 1969. In charge of negotiating 34 separate collective bargaining agreements, he was re-elected in 1970 and 1973. He was appointed an International Representative in 1976.

After working as an organizer in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida for a couple of years, Jones returned to California, where he spent 25 years servicing manufacturing and construction locals in the Ninth District before retiring in 2004.

Says Edwards, "Art was always positive. He gave constructive criticism. I don't know anyone that didn't receive it as such."

A veteran of the U.S. Army's 4th Armored Division, Jones played football and ran track while stationed in Germany.

Brother Jones, who lectured on labor issues at the University of California at Berkeley and Skyline College, enjoyed golf and fishing and volunteer work in his retirement.

On behalf of the entire membership of the IBEW, the officers convey our deepest condolences to Brother Jones' family.

Arthur J. Jones

Gary Klinglesmith

Fourth District International Representative Gary Klinglesmith retired effective May 1.

In 1981, Klinglesmith joined IBEW Local 2100 in his native Louisville, Ky., after helping to lead an organizing drive at Louisville Gas and Electric, where he was employed as a boilermaker and was a member of a company union. The campaign, organized by the IBEW Organizing Department, brought 2,700 members into the local.

"Thanks to International Representative John Mitchell, we negotiated a 15 percent pay increase and several other perks," says Klinglesmith. "That was the launching pad for building a real strong bargaining unit at the utility," he says.

Elected business manager of Local 2100 in 1992, Klinglesmith also served as an interim director of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education. He was appointed International Representative in 1995 and later served as IBEW's political coordinator in the state.

"I became interested in unions after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was in Memphis to support striking AFSCME sanitation workers," says Klinglesmith, whose wife was an AFSCME representative.

"Those events were in my wheelhouse in my formative years. I learned that labor unions were the only organizations that gave blacks and women some semblance of equality," he said.

Klinglesmith, who serviced manufacturing, telecommunications and utility locals, was also tapped for some organizing efforts in construction, where his trade background was helpful.

"In 15 years, I only had two strikes in the bargaining units I serviced, neither of which lasted more than two weeks," says Klinglesmith. Among his proudest achievements was defeating an attempt by Duke Energy to replace union contractors with nonunion employers after Duke purchased Cincinnati Gas and Electric Co. Klinglesmith led a corporate campaign that lasted four months, challenging Duke's moves in the media.

In retirement, Klinglesmith has revived a career as a championship chess player that he put on the shelf during his years on the road as a representative.

A 1976 World "Class A" champion, Klinglesmith says he, "knocked the rust off my game," then took up Internet chess. He is now captain of the No. 1 team in the world, composed of 54 players from all over the globe. He hopes to travel overseas and meet some of his players face-to-face.

"I am very grateful that in the IBEW, I was able to build a career doing things that I love to do," says Klinglesmith, who plans to consult unions on bargaining, corporate campaigns and organizing in retirement.

On behalf of the entire membership, the officers and staff of the IBEW wish Brother Klinglesmith a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Douglas Saunders

Ninth District International Representative Douglas Saunders retired effective May 15, concluding a career that spanned 40 years.

Born in Honolulu, Brother Saunders moved with his family to Orange County, Calif., when he was 15. He was initiated into Santa Ana Local 441 in 1971, working as a journeyman wireman and foreman for several area signatory contractors for the next few years. He went on to serve members of the local as shop steward before being elected to various other positions, including business agent, organizer and assistant business manager.

Brother Saunders was elected business manager of the local in 1993, at a time when the state and nation were experiencing a harsh recession.

"The county was bankrupt, spending was down—it was certainly a task to try to create work for our members," he said.

An antidote was his office's increased organizing, savvy bargaining skills and efforts to build a strong political base to lobby local lawmakers, he said. "In the mid-'90s, we were second in the state for increasing membership. Even in the worst of times, we grew the local. The staff and members were extremely dedicated and worked hard in an effort to survive and move the local forward."

Saunders was appointed International Representative in 1997 by then-International President J.J. Barry. He spent the next 14 years servicing Locals 11, 440, 441, 477 and 569 in Southern California in construction, maintenance, sound and public address and other trade classifications.

Brother Saunders' leadership goals at the district office were natural outgrowths of his strategy as business manager.

"Organizing was the most important task we had ahead of us," he said. He also helped negotiate contracts with major employers—including management at Disneyland—while continuing to build a political base. He recalled one rally in Los Angeles to support prevailing wage laws in California in the late '90s that drew 30,000 supporters.

On his reasons for joining the IBEW, Saunders said, "I had respected unions and the dignity they gave to their members, and I felt the IBEW was the top trade in the construction industry. When I became an apprentice, there was much work going on in Orange County, and I saw a career for my family and myself where I could be outdoors and not tied to the same spot every day while earning a decent wage with good benefits.

"I feel blessed for what the IBEW did for me and my family in the years that followed," he said. "I'm most thankful for the good people I've worked with over the years. It's been a great experience."

Brother Saunders is a Vietnam veteran who spent more than 16 months in the war. Prior to joining the IBEW, he served in the Merchant Marines and was a member of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific. He served on numerous committees including the IBEW Code and Standards Committee—which suggests changes to the national fire code—as well as vice-president of Orange County's Central Labor Council and the United Labor Agency. Saunders also served as a member of the sergeant-at-arms committee and chairman of the IBEW nominating committee for the 7th District International Executive Council at the 35th International Convention in Philadelphia in 1996.

In retirement, Saunders plans to spend more time with his family, read, travel and enjoy outdoor sports and activities.

On behalf of the entire union membership, the officers and staff wish Brother Saunders a healthy and happy retirement.

Douglas Saunders