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May 2013

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James R. McAvoy

The officers and staff of the IBEW are saddened to report that retired Eighth District International Executive Council member James R. McAvoy died on Feb. 21.

A native of Blind River, Ontario, Brother McAvoy joined Victoria, British Columbia, Local 230 in 1957 after serving as an electrician in the Royal Canadian Navy in Korea.

McAvoy, who retired in 1996, served for 20 years as business manager and financial secretary of Local 230 and as president of the Joint Shipyard Bargaining Council.

Active in many facets of the IBEW and the labor movement in Canada, McAvoy served as president of the IBEW Provincial Council of British Columbia and was appointed to the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia. He also served as chairman of the Joint Electrical Industry's Welfare and Pension Plans.

Appointed to the IEC in 1984, McAvoy was re-elected in 1986 and 1991. After retiring, McAvoy lived in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

In an obituary he wrote for the Vancouver Sun, First District International Representative Laird Cronk said, "Jim led an extraordinary life, including circumnavigating the world on HMCS Haida and transiting the Northwest Passage on icebreaker HMCS Labrador, all before the age of 21! Jim then spent 30 outstanding years working in the labour movement."

The officers and members send our deep condolences to Brother McAvoy's companion, Paulette Senger, his daughters Patricia, Cary Lee and Jackie, grandchildren and great grandchildren.


James R. McAvoy

Carl Cantrell

Tenth District International Representative Carl Cantrell retired effective May 1.

Initiated into Nashville Local 429 in 1978, Cantrell moved his membership to Tullahoma, Tenn., Local 2113 in 1984 after obtaining a job at Arnold Air Force Base.

"I wish to thank the members of the IBEW as well as International President Hill for the opportunity to serve the greatest union in history," says Cantrell. "We have some of the brightest people in labor and outside labor. If we utilize them to their fullest potential, there is no reason this union will not endure and prosper."

Brother Cantrell, who was elected as recording secretary and financial secretary of Local 2113 in the early '90s, gained recognition for his diligence in financial matters. He was appointed a trustee of the Southern Electrical Health and Welfare Fund and, from 1997 to 2000, served as benefits chairman of the Air Engineering Metal Trades Council.

In 1999, Cantrell, who had previously earned an associate degree in business administration, became the first student to fulfill all requirements for graduation, receiving a bachelor's degree from the newly-accredited National Labor College.

Cantrell combined his early interest in the Internet with his labor movement activism, developing Web sites for his local union, IBEW's Tenth District and the Air Engineering Metal Trades Council.

In 2000, after serving as legislative chairman of the metal trades council, Cantrell was assigned to the International Office as Webmaster in the Journal/Media Department.

In 2006, Brother Cantrell was assigned to the CIR/Bylaws and Appeals Department. His retirement comes after he was reassigned to the Tenth District in September 2012.

Married, with five sons and four grandchildren, Cantrell, who plays the guitar and has written country and western songs, hopes to have more time for his music and attending his grandchildren's sporting events. "Moving back to Murfreesboro, Tenn., with my wife, Marianna, I'm excited to be closer to my children, grandchildren, goddaughter and her two children who also call me Grandpa," says Cantrell.

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


Carl Cantrell

Peter Routliff

First District International Representative Peter Routliff retired April 1 after a 29-year career with the IBEW.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Brother Routliff went to work for Ottawa Hydro after graduating high school, becoming a journeyman lineman. The utility was represented by another union at the time, but workers felt they weren't getting the representation they deserved. In 1984, they voted to join Local 1569.

He was active in the local, becoming steward at age 24. "I was mentored very well by the older guys on the job," he says.

He was elected recording secretary and then business manager soon thereafter. Routliff says that labor-management relations were rocky at the time, which gave him a crash course in labor relations. "I really cut my teeth fast," he says. "I learned a lot."

In 1992, Local 1569 amalgamated with Toronto Local 636. Routliff served as business representative, responsible for negotiating 18 different contracts. Major budget cutbacks and an economic recession made the 1990s a tough time for organized labor, he says. "But I also learned that there were employers who were committed to building constructive relationships with unions and that gave me a lot of insight into how labor and management can partner together to tackle challenges."

He was appointed International Representative for the First District by then-International President J.J. Barry in 1998.

In addition to servicing locals, he served on numerous safety, energy and other federal and provincial boards and commissions, including the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

In his retirement, Routliff says he looks forward to continuing to work with the IBEW on major energy projects throughout Canada, including working to help St. John's, Newfoundland, Local 1620 and Nalcor Energy recruit and train workers for the massive Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

"I appreciate the IBEW for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn so much," he says.

The IBEW officers, staff and members wish Brother Routliff a long and fulfilling retirement.


Peter Routliff