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March 2016

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Richard D. Acton

Former International Executive Council member and Cleveland labor giant Richard D. Acton passed away on Dec. 20 at the age of 93.

Friends and colleagues will remember the ex-boxer as a tough-as-nails negotiator, an inspiring leader and a tireless reformer.

"Dick was a tough guy," said IBEW International Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore J. Chilia, who started his own apprenticeship at Cleveland Local 38 in 1967 just months after Acton was elected business manager. "He had that fighter mentality, whether it was a negotiation or a difficult meeting. He didn't take any bull from anybody, but boy could he make us laugh."

Chilia remembered fondly how Acton, who looked every bit the former boxer, would throw his voice across a room or put on ridiculous accents, leaving the people around him in stitches.

"Dick's sense of humor allowed conversations to continue when they were on the verge of ending," retired Local 38 business representative and friend Roger Meyer told Cleveland's Labor Citizen. "It helped when he was in negotiations and added to his overall likability."

It also made him lots of friends. Those relationships, built over the course of a 47-year career in the IBEW, saw the Uniontown, Pa., native rise from wireman to business manager to executive director of the Cleveland AFL-CIO before he retired in 1996.

Initiated into Local 38 in 1949, Acton was first elected treasurer of his local in 1961. In 1967, he became business manager, a post he would hold for more than 22 years.

In 1979 Acton was appointed as the Third District representative to the International Executive Council, and he also served a five-year term on the IBEW's Council on Industrial Relations, earning a reputation for being tough but fair.

Back in Cleveland, he made fairness his calling card, pushing hard both at Local 38 and at the AFL-CIO to reform the job referral system and to level the playing field for all members.

"He was the kind of guy you could trust, and when there wasn't a lot of work in the 1970s, he really held that local together," said Chilia, who will remember Acton as a mentor and friend.

But the labor community isn't alone in mourning Acton's passing.

In 2000, Acton was inducted into the Ohio Boxing Hall of Fame thanks to his many years of competition as an amateur and professional, and for his continued involvement with the sport well into retirement.

In his home state of Pennsylvania, Acton was a two-time Golden Gloves champion, with a combined amateur record of 87 wins and eight losses with 32 knockouts. Much of his amateur record exists under the name Paddy O'Reilly, chosen for his proud Irish heritage. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, he also fought professionally, amassing 12 wins (eight by knockout) and just two losses.

Acton eventually became vice president of the Ohio state AFL-CIO and president of the United Labor Agency, the social arm of the Cleveland AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters.

In 1993, he was instrumental in launching America's Work Force Radio, a daily program dedicated to union issues that is today the longest-running show of its kind.

Acton, Chilia said, was the type of guy who doesn't come around very often. "Thank God he got involved in the union with Local 38 and the entire labor movement in Cleveland and the nation," he told the Labor Citizen. "Men like him are hard to find."

Brother Acton leaves behind Mary Ann, his wife of 43 years, three daughters, eight grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. The officers, staff and members of the IBEW extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and to his many friends.


Richard D. Acton

Rui Carrinho

After 55 years of service to his brothers and sisters in the IBEW, Second District International Representative and former Second District representative on the International Executive Council Rui Carrinho retired effective Dec. 31.

A native of the Portugese Azores Islands, Brother Carrinho joined Warwick, R.I., Local 1274 in 1959 when he began work at Leviton Manufacturing.

Eight years later he was elected to the executive board, and in 1970 took over as business manager, a position he held for 35 years. He also sat on the executive board of the state AFL-CIO for more than three decades and served as president of the Rhode Island Electrical Workers Association for four years.

"Rui was a giant in Rhode Island's organized labor movement and an indispensable part of the IBEW for more than half a century," said Myles Calvey, Second District representative on the International Executive Council. "There will never be another like him and he will be missed."

Carrinho was a delegate to seven IBEW conventions, serving as a member of the President's Committee to the 1978 convention, the Sergeant-at-Arms Committee in 1991 and the Grievance and Appeals Committee in 1996.

In 2000, Carrinho was appointed by then-International President J.J. Barry to be the Second District representative on the International Executive Council, a position he was elected to the following year at the San Francisco convention.

Leviton, still the largest privately held manufacturer of electrical wiring equipment in North America, in 2005 closed its Warwick factory and Local 1274 was dissolved. Carrinho was then appointed to the Second District international staff by President Emeritus Edwin D. Hill.

The IBEW officers, staff and membership wish Brother Carrinho a long, healthy and well-earned retirement.


Rui Carrinho