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September 2016

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Harold "Bill" Crews

We regret to report that former Fourth District International Representative Harold W. "Bill" Crews passed away on May 9 in St. Albans, W.Va. He was 87.

Brother Crews was initiated into Cleveland Local 39 in 1950 and later became a member of Huntington, W.Va., Local 317. He served the local in several capacities, including on negotiating committees and as apprenticeship director, vice president, assistant business manager and a member of the executive and examining boards. He was brought on as a Fourth District international representative in 1972. In that capacity, Crews aided locals in the district with negotiations, arbitrations and grievances before retiring in 1988.

He was a member of the West Virginia Electrical Workers Association, Huntington Building Trades, Tri-State Building Trades, Huntington Central Labor Union, Democrat Club and American Legion. A native of Beckley, W.Va., he lived in the Mountain State following his retirement.

Brother Crews is survived by his wife Wanda and daughters Susan Groscup and Katherine Middleton Gore; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

On behalf of the entire IBEW membership and staff, the officers extend our heartfelt condolences to Brother Crews' family and friends.


Harold "Bill" Crews

Tommy Maynard

The IBEW regrets to report that Tommy G. Maynard, former Fourth District International Representative, died on July 24. He was 70.

Born in Norfolk, Va., Brother Maynard was initiated into Norfolk Local 734. He worked as a lineman on military bases in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. He served his local in many roles, including as business manager, vice president and president. He also served on the executive and examining boards and on the welfare and organizing committees. Prior to his initiation, Maynard served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961-1965.

"He was union 100 percent," said Local 734 Vice President Wilson Gilbert. "He was one of us."

In 1986, Maynard was appointed international representative for the Fourth District. He serviced manufacturing, utility, communications and government locals in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. His specialty was arbitrations.

"He always kept a close eye on us when he was a representative," Gilbert said. "He never forgot where he came from."

"He was a great guy," said Jay Edwards, a Local 734 steward when Maynard was president. "People always came first."

Brother Maynard spent a number of nights and weekends with Edwards and another member, Lewis Whitehead, building Local 734's office, Edwards said. The building was a grocery store and they renovated it for use as a union building used by the area CLC, metal trades, Painters, Insulators and more.

"He did it all on his own time," Edwards said. "He knew we needed a place to call home."

Maynard retired in 2005. He enjoyed fishing, camping and hunting, and was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shrine Temple.

Brother Maynard is survived by his wife of 53 years, Lynn; children Lisa Morris, who was also a member of Local 734, Tina Raymond and Brian Maynard; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three siblings.

On behalf of the entire IBEW membership and staff, the officers send our condolences to Brother Maynard's family and friends.


Tommy Maynard

Robert D. Myers

The IBEW is saddened to announce the death of retired Fifth District International Representative Robert D. Myers. He was 84.

Myers was born in South Bend, Ind., the seventh of 12 siblings. After high school Myers earned a journeyman tool and die maker's certificate at the Studebaker plant in Indiana before serving in the Air Force from 1950 to 1954. Myers met his wife, A. Charlene Lark Myers, on a blind date at Barksdale Airforce Base in northwest Louisiana. They were married for 63 years.

Brother Myers got a job at the Western Electric payphone factory in Shreveport and led an organizing campaign that successfully brought in the IBEW. Shreveport Local 2188 was formed in 1967 and Myers was elected president, a position he would hold for 18 years. At its height, Local 2188 had more than 7,000 members.

Myers was chosen to head the Western Electric System Council EM-3 in 1983, at one time the largest system council in the IBEW with close to 100,000 members.

"He was negotiating national contracts and he was good at it," said Fifth District International Vice President Joe Davis, who met Myers in the late '70s. "He was dedicated, believed in the union and he knew what he was doing."

Davis said Myers built a reputation as an outspoken and knowledgeable advocate for his members.

"And he was a nice guy and a good family man too," Davis said.

Brother Myers joined the Fifth District staff in 1988 and served as an international representative until his retirement in 1999.

He helped Shreveport Local 194 organize Valley Electric Membership Cooperative in 1995. He was a subscriber to the co-op and helped organize his own utility.

"It was the largest electric co-op in the area that was not organized, and he was a meter holder, so it made sense to have him do the organizing," said Fifth District International Representative Glenn Brannan, who was business manager of Local 194 at the time. "We won the election in a couple or three months, and it was a good shot in the arm for us."

The Western Electric factory fared particularly poorly as American manufacturing declined. The No. 1 product made at the plant was pay phones, which were rapidly disappearing at the end of the century. Local 2188 was made defunct in 2002.

Myers retired to his farm in Frierson, raising cattle, growing peaches and strawberries with his son John.

Brother Myers is survived by his wife, Charlene, siblings Jerry and Eileen, his sons John and Paul and five grandchildren.

To his family and friends, the IBEW extends sincere sympathy.


Robert D. Myers

George Crawford

Seventh District International Representative George Crawford retired on July 1 after serving the IBEW for 46 years.

The Southeast Texas native was initiated in 1970 into Beaumont, Texas, Local 2286, where he'd gone to work in 1968 as a lineman for Gulf States Utility Co., now Entergy. After 11 years with the utility, including three while serving as president of the local, Crawford was appointed business manager in 1979. A year later, he was elected to the post, which he held for the better part of the next 23 years.

During his time as business manager, Crawford began an important exchange program with the Electrical Trades Union of Australia, establishing a relationship that would grow into his job with the Seventh District.

"That program is one of the highlights of my working life," Crawford said of the swap that sends up to four IBEW electricians to Australia and a similar cast of ETU members to the Seventh District in alternating years. "We started this 20 years ago in 1996 as a way to trade best practices and training methods," Crawford said. "At the time, several of our utility companies had started buying up Australian companies to experiment with deregulation."

At first, the program was run through the Texas Association of Electrical Workers, Local 2286 and Dallas Local 69, but when Jon Gardner became Seventh District vice president in 2002, he helped to expand it throughout the district, where today it draws participants from Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

In late July, the ETU welcomed Brother Crawford and his wife, Linda, to their annual officers' meeting in Sydney, where they honored him for his decades of work strengthening the relationship between the two unions.

As an international representative in the Seventh District, Crawford spent the last 14 years negotiating contracts and primarily servicing utility industry locals.

"George has always been a relationship guy," said fellow Seventh District International Representative Gary Buresh. "That's how he approached any negotiation, by focusing on the problem, not the person. He always said, 'You can't get anything done without talking.'"

"I always thought the best approach to working with a company was to make sure I established the best possible labor-management relationship right from the start," Crawford said. "If you have a poor relationship, your outcomes are a lot more likely to be poor, whether it's a contract or a grievance or anything else."

Those were skills he says he learned from Brother Gardner, who was his local's service representative when he became business manager and who would later help bring Crawford to the international staff in 2002. "Jon was a guy I looked up to my whole career, and I was lucky to have his guidance for so many years."

Now back home in Beaumont, Crawford says he plans to "dust off my golf clubs, do some traveling," and spend more time with his two grandchildren, who live nearby. "This union's given a lot to me, and I'm grateful to it," he said.

The officers, staff and membership of the IBEW wish Brother Crawford the very best in his retirement.


George Crawford

Jeffrey Radjewski

Sixth District Organizing Coordinator Jeffrey Radjewski capped a 42-year career with the IBEW when he retired on June 1.

Born and raised in Detroit, Brother Radjewski began his apprenticeship in 1974 and was initiated into Detroit Local 58 as a journeyman inside wireman in 1978. He served in a variety of leadership roles before being elected business manager in 1997.

In 2005, he was named the Sixth District organizing coordinator — a position that Radjewski said he turned down once before because he enjoyed being a business manager. But when then-International President Edwin D. Hill asked him a second time, he figured he better take it — and looking back, he's glad he did.

"It was an adjustment for me, but when I went to work for the International Office, it was like getting a 20,000-foot view of the Brotherhood," Radjewski said. "It gives you a whole new perspective."

Brother Radjewski worked with 54 locals in five states in his role as an organizing coordinator.

"You get a real feel for the really bright, innovative people and the wealth of experience and knowledge we have," he said. "You sort of know that from meeting other business managers at events, but it was just refreshing to see the talent we have at the IBEW and it's all home grown. It all rose to the top and that's what is amazing to me."

Radjewski said he had many career highlights, but one that sticks out was a multi-local organizing campaign for Sears service technicians in 2009 he helped coordinate in Joliet, Ill. Radjewski said he thought it was a longshot the campaign would succeed and even counseled a young organizer at Local 176 to use it as a learning experience.

Instead, those workers voted for IBEW representation.

"When you get that close to people on a personal level and you prevail, it's just so emotional," he said. "These were grown men and women of all races. When we won that election, we were all choked up."

Director of Construction Organizing Virgil Hamilton said that kind of work was typical of Radjewski.

"Jeff was a great asset to the Membership Development Department," Hamilton said. "He provided outstanding leadership for organizing in the Sixth District. Jeff has a great talent for guiding locals to achieve organizing success. We'll miss him greatly, but wish him well in his deserved retirement."

Radjewski, 62, said he and his wife Melanie want to travel and do some other things they've put off, including spending more time with two grandchildren. They will keep their home in Washington, Mich., but plan to spend January and February at warm-weather locations throughout the United States.

The couple recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. Son Nick is a Local 58 member and works as a maintenance electrician at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Daughter Katie works for Beaumont Hospital in suburban Detroit and daughter Kari works in communications for the University of Detroit Mercy.

Radjewski also has volunteered to help with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Michigan in the weeks leading up to November's general election.

The IBEW officers, members and staff thank Brother Radjewski for his years of service and wish him a long and fulfilling retirement.


Jeffrey Radjewski