´╗┐February 2012

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Donald Crevier

We regret to report that retired Sixth District International Representative Donald Crevier died Dec. 10 at the age of 84.

Brother Crevier was born in Kankakee, Ill. Following service with the 141st Construction Battalion in the Pacific during World War II, he was initiated into now-defunct hometown Local 963 in 1948.

He quickly became active in union affairs, serving on the negotiating committee, holding office as financial secretary and later serving as business manager for 11 years.

Brother Crevier was appointed International Representative in 1967. He serviced mainly inside construction locals during more than two decades in the field.

"He was very close with his family, and he was proud of his work with the union," said retired Sixth District International Representative Don Mahoney.

Crevier served on many labor-related committees and boards in Illinois. He was president of the Kankakee Building Trades Council and served as vice-president of the town's AFL-CIO.

A member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion, Brother Crevier enjoyed swimming, bowling, golf and model railroading.

Crevier is survived by his wife, Helen, their four children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. In a memorial tribute, his family wrote that the legacy he leaves behind "is rooted in honor, unconditional love and kindhearted deeds. He lived life to the fullest and made sure those around him did as well."

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

Donald Crevier

Laurence Cohen

After a long and distinguished career in support of workers' rights, IBEW General Counsel Larry Cohen retired effective Dec. 31.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School, Cohen served with the labor law firm Sherman, Dunn, Cohen, Leifer and Yellig P.C. for more than four decades. In addition to his service with the firm, he also served as a legal assistant and supervisory attorney for National Labor Relations Board member John Fanning. He has served as the IBEW's general counsel since 1980.

A specialist in labor and employment law, Cohen also served as general counsel for the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department and the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers for 24 years.

One of the most respected labor lawyers in the country, Cohen is past chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association, and a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He is also the author of numerous law papers and served as guest lecturer at law schools across the United States.

"It's has been an honor beyond anything I could have dreamed of at the outset of my legal career, to serve the IBEW, its officers and members for almost 50 years," Cohen told delegates at the 38th International Convention.

He is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, where he successfully argued four cases on behalf of union clients. He has been named one of the country's best lawyers, receiving lifetime achievement awards from the Jewish Labor Committee and the Peggy Browning Fund.

He is succeeded in the role as general counsel by Richard Resnick.

Cohen says he plans to work on President Obama's re-election campaign and continue to provide mediation services.

"The enemies of the labor movement have deep pockets and access to many big-buck union-busting law firms, so the IBEW has been lucky to have people like Larry on our side," said International President Edwin D. Hill. "He's a great lawyer, not only for his knowledge, experience and professionalism, but also because of his commitment to working people and our common movement."

The IBEW officers, staff and members wish Mr. Cohen a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Laurence Cohen

Wesley 'Jimmy' Sunvison

Seventh District International Representative Wesley "Jimmy" Sunvison retired effective Jan. 1 after nearly five decades of service to the IBEW.

Brother Sunvison was initiated into Austin, Texas, Local 520 in 1965. He earned his journeyman status in 1969 and went on to work on several large-scale projects in the area. Sunvison was one of the first electricians on the site to construct the sprawling IBM plant in Austin, a facility that would go on to accommodate 10,000 tech employees. "It was a challenge, but a rewarding one," Sunvison said. He also worked to put up lighting on the University of Texas Memorial Stadium.

The descendant of Swedish blacksmiths who arrived to the states in the 1890s, Sunvison was the first of his family to be accepted into a trade union. "When my father found out, he had tears running down his face," Sunvison said. "He told me, 'You've got to do the best you can, because none of us have gotten the opportunity that you've been given.'"

Sunvison served on the local's executive board for 16 years, including nine years as chairman. He also logged more than 20 years on the local's negotiating committee. Sunvison was elected business manager in late 1991 and held that position for the next decade. In that role, he dramatically increased membership and improved relations with employers.

"When I came in as business manager, I don't think we had more than 500 members, and most of them were unemployed," he said. "I told myself that I was going to do something to change it. So I spent a lot of time sitting down with employers and mapping out plans that would be win-wins for the companies and our members. We started working better instead of fighting, and we were later formally recognized by NECA as having some of the best labor-management relationships in the country."

Organizing was also key. Sunvison said the local added about 700 members during his tenure as business manager.

"The IBEW gave me and my family everything we have, and for that I was certainly grateful," he said. "I was driven to turn that local around because of what I'd seen the IBEW do for me."

Sunvison was appointed International Representative by International President Edwin D. Hill in 2001.

He was tasked with servicing 10 locals across the broad, flat expanse of the Lone Star State. Members worked in fields such as railroad, manufacturing, outside line construction and inside wiring. "Coming from the inside branch, working with these locals gave me a much larger appreciation for all the work of the members of our diverse union," Sunvison said.

Building on the successes he garnered during his time as a business manager, Sunvison expanded on his skills of bettering labor-management relations and mentoring new, enthusiastic leaders across the state.

"With some of the locals, I tried to use what I had learned in Austin to improve some areas of operation," he said. One success story came through the steady progress of a then-newly-elected business manager of San Antonio Local 60 — Mike Devine, who benefitted from Sunvison's steady mentorship. "Mike's done a terrific job. He has completely turned the relationship around with the employers, which makes them able to do so much with the solid work force. He's as good a friend as I have in the world."

Brother Sunvison has also dedicated much of his life to assisting the sheriff's department in his home county of Travis. While serving as business manager, Sunvison attended night classes in reserve officer training for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

"It was always something I wanted to do," said Sunvison of the volunteer service. "I worked on the streets for thousands of hours, and it even gave me insight into how to do my job as business manager. Investigating grievances is a lot like police work, and you can spend a good amount of time in hearings for both jobs. It was an enlightening experience." Sunvison rose through the ranks to become president for the Travis County Reserve.

Brother Sunvison says he looks forward to spending time on his ranch with his wife, Vivian, and will enjoy more time with his two children and four grandchildren. He has a younger brother with more than 30 years in the trade with Local 520. Two of Sunvison's other brothers are retired members of the plumbers and pipefitters union.

On behalf of the entire union membership, the officers and staff wish Brother Sunvison a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement.

Wesley 'Jimmy' Sunvison