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July 2017

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Donald C. Siegel

After 46 years in the IBEW, Third District International Vice President Donald C. Siegel has retired, effective June 1.

Brother Siegel is a native of West Reading, Pa. His father, Joseph, was a member of the steelworkers for more than 50 years and his mother, Louise, was a member of the IBEW for nearly 30 years while she worked at Western Electric.

He was initiated into Reading Local 743 and six months after he topped out in 1973, he was elected to the executive board.

But the economy in eastern Pennsylvania cratered in the '70s and Siegel didn't work in his home jurisdiction for almost a decade. He spent nearly three years in Salt Lake City and then over a year in San Jose, Calif., almost settling there. He had to quit his board position before his first term even expired.

"When I left, I was carrying everything I owned and was in debt," Siegel said. "When I came back I had saved almost $40,000 and didn't owe anyone a thing."

Siegel returned to Pennsylvania in the '80s, finding work at the Limerick nuclear plant and then as a project manager for two local contractors. Then the longtime business manager retired unexpectedly and, in 1986, a friend of Siegel's, Ernie Musser, took the helm.

But the local was in turmoil. Sides were chosen and by 1989, the local was, in Siegel's mind, in trouble. He decided to run and Musser did not. Siegel won.

He hired the local's first organizer, quintupled the COPE budget and got the local more deeply involved in local and state politics. He also oversaw a merger with another local union that almost doubled the construction membership of Local 743.

"I'm just the son of blue collar working parents that was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the IBEW," Siegel said. "We got the local pulling in the same direction and, together with a lot of help and cooperation from our members, set the local on the right path."

In 1991, Siegel nominated Joseph McCafferty for a position on the International Executive Council at the 34th International Convention in St. Louis. McCafferty was running against the incumbent, but had the support of then-International President J.J. Barry. The incumbent lost, Siegel's candidate won.

In 1994, then-Third District Vice President Edward Hill asked Siegel if he would be interested in coming on staff. "I was a little shocked. "We became close friends, but at that time I knew him as an international representative who came to me with some policy and processes that I didn't love."

Nevertheless, when Barry made the appointment offer official, Siegel accepted.

His most important accomplishment as an international representative, Siegel said, was dealing with a failing and flailing local north of Philadelphia. For 18 months, he ran the local under trusteeship, eventually splitting it into three others. It was, he said, a mess that had resisted fixing for years, and cleaning it up effectively made his reputation as someone who could handle long, difficult jobs.

In 2002, a year after he became international president, Hill had to replace Lawrence E. Rossa as Third District international vice president. Again, he turned to Siegel.

"I think he wanted a bulldog. And he wanted someone he could trust and would stay around for the long term," Siegel said. "I don't know if he thought I would be there for 15 years, but he wanted someone he knew would not quit or retire after a few years."

Siegel said the Third District has changed dramatically since he became vice president. The membership shrank from 148,000 to 116,000, with most of the loss coming in the manufacturing department.

"The majority of those losses represent a worker that lost a good union job and a lost opportunity to live the American dream," Siegel said.

His proudest achievement, he said, was working with and building the best staff in any craft or trade union, although he said he expects most international vice presidents would likely say the same thing.

"They do all the heavy lifting," he said. "It may be no great feat on my part, but I got them to all work as a team, not divided up with construction over here and utility over there. This is one union and I tried to foster their accomplishments."

One thing he said he does feel he can take credit for is the strength of the Third District's young leadership. "I am optimistic about the IBEW because of them and I am proud I worked to get young people involved," Siegel said.

In retirement, Siegel will continue as vice president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and maintain his board seats on the Team Pennsylvania Foundation and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. In 2018, when Gov. Tom Wolf runs for re-election, Siegel says he will be there fighting for him.

"I will find plenty of work. I don't really do sitting down well," Siegel said.

The IBEW officers, staff and membership are grateful for Brother Siegel's work on behalf of the IBEW. Please join us in wishing him a long, busy and enjoyable retirement.


Donald C. Siegel

Michael D. Welsh

Third District International Representative Michael D. Welsh has been appointed the district's international vice president, effective June 1.

He fills the unexpired term of Third District International Vice President Donald C. Siegel, who retired. International President Lonnie R. Stephenson's selection of Welsh was unanimously approved by the International Executive Council.

At 18 Welsh was initiated into Johnstown, Pa., Local 459 in 1976 while working as a temporary employee at Conemaugh Generating Station, about an hour east of Pittsburgh. After a brief layoff, he resumed permanent work in 1977 as a conveyor operator in the plant's coal handling division.

Welsh credits his involvement with union leadership to a particularly terrible boss he had in that first job, whose mistreatment of employees prompted him to accept the role of steward in 1979. "Looking back, I guess I should send that guy a thank-you note," he said.

The next year, following a lengthy strike, Welsh ran for Local 459's executive board and won the first of two terms. He also decided to go back to school. In 1984, he graduated from the Western Pennsylvania Union Leadership Academy, and in 1989, he graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. During that span, he also served as his local's vice president from 1986 to 1989.

Welsh was elected president of the local and appointed assistant business manager in 1995. Then-business manager Joe Sanna, Welsh said, was a great mentor to him — "a strong union guy who always stood up for his principles."

It was seven years later, in 2002, that another mentor emerged to recommend Welsh for the international staff. Siegel had just settled into the job when he asked then-International President Edwin D. Hill to appoint Welsh to his staff. The two had worked together on the Pennsylvania State Electrical Workers Association, where Welsh served as president and still serves as secretary/treasurer.

"I owe a lot to Don," Welsh said. "He's been a great example for me and given me a lot of opportunities in this Brotherhood. This job is an awesome responsibility, and I hope I can do it justice."

Welsh served as the political coordinator for the Third District and for the state of Pennsylvania, fighting right-to-work and prevailing wage attacks. He also spent time servicing local unions and helping international representatives in the field by providing information for negotiations and bylaw changes.

"It's been a rewarding job for the last 15 years," he said, "and I'm looking forward to learning more and working for an even larger group of members in this new position."

Like Siegel before him, Welsh plans to keep laser-focused on growing the Brotherhood, putting organizing among his top priorities. He also plans to continue pushing the Code of Excellence in all branches and to regularly remind members of the importance of politics and elected officials to their day-to-day lives.

"These people have enormous sway over our ability to organize, the amount of work we have, and our ability to put food on the table for our families," he said. "We need to pay attention and hold elected leaders accountable, and I plan to make sure we're doing that across the district."

The Third District includes the states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.


Michael D. Welsh

Paul O'Connor

International Representative Paul O'Connor was appointed Government Employees Department director, effective May 1. O'Connor replaces Dennis Phelps, who retired.

"I'm excited about the possibilities," O'Connor said. "I want our government employees to know that they have a voice."

The Government Department represents the tens of thousands of IBEW members working for federal and state governments including those maintaining the lock system for the Army Corps of Engineers and employees at the Government Printing Office and departments of Energy and the Interior. The largest group is the metal trades members at several shipyards who build and maintain the U.S. Navy's floating arsenal.

That's where O'Connor, a second-generation tradesman, got his start in the IBEW. A native of Exeter, N.H., O'Connor spent his career at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a 6,000-employee facility and the oldest continuously operated naval yard in the country.

In 1981, he was initiated into Portsmouth, N.H., Local 2071 as an apprentice and worked his way up from steward to business manager. He also served as president of the Portsmouth Federal Employees Metal Trades Council for 13 years and on the shipyard's labor-management committee.

Brother O'Connor is also active in politics, a passion born out of fighting off shipyard closures and other government threats as well as geography — New Hampshire holds the first U.S. presidential primary, giving the state increased influence.

"Their [federal employees] jobs are under constant attack," O'Connor said. "Our men and women are the best in the world, but if the political climate isn't friendly, they get thrown under the bus, treated like pawns in a politician's pet project. I want our members to know that they can — and should — stand up for themselves. I want them to know how powerful their voices can be against these assaults."

At the federal level, members are subject to hiring and salary freezes, Congress' perennial inability to pass on-time budgets and government shutdown threats. In January, Republicans enacted a rule that could strip a person's salary to $1 — or eliminate an entire federal program.

"Just the threat of a shutdown creates incredible instability and inefficiency," O'Connor said. "You can't plan for the future when you don't know what your budget will be. And for these members, there's no guarantee of being reimbursed for pay lost while Congress was fighting."

O'Connor says he will also champion the Code of Excellence, the IBEW program that promotes professionalism and high quality craftsmanship. While working at the shipyard, he worked on a similar initiative that predates the Code, the Declaration of Excellence, created by labor and management that focuses on workplace values, encourages better communication and collaboration, and increases efficiency.

In 2015, he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the program.

O'Connor serves on Department of Defense-affiliated committees including the Naval Sea Systems Command Labor Management Committee; New Beginnings, a coalition that produced a new personnel system; and a roundtable that is the highest-ranking group for labor-management issues at the Pentagon.


Paul O'Connor

Brian S. Maher

Second District International Representative Brian Maher retired on May 1 after 41 years of service to the IBEW.

Initiated into New Haven, Conn., Local 90 in 1976, Maher followed his father into the electrical trade and the union. Maher was the fourth of five kids and said his parents had always pushed their children to go to college, but after a semester, he found it wasn't really for him. "I came home and worked as summer help through the local union and I really enjoyed it," he said.

After finishing his apprenticeship, Maher put his journeyman card to use and headed west to work at the 1,200-megawatt Columbia Nuclear Generating Station, which opened in 1984 in Richland, Wash.

Soon after, he found himself back in New Haven, working on Unit 3 at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Conn., a site he'd return to over the years to work shutdowns and refuels. During that time, Maher got involved with Local 90's political committee, serving as its chairman for a couple of years before making his first run at executive board. He came up short, but kept at it, winning a seat on his second try in 1992.

The next year, then-business manager Giro Esposito offered Maher a job as the local's organizer, and he accepted, leaving the tools behind for good. Over the next eight years, he'd go on to serve as recording secretary, assistant business manager and president of the local, as a trustee on the pension, health and welfare, annuity, National Electrical Contractors Association/Local 90 training committees, and as an ex-officio member on numerous other committees at the local.

Alongside Esposito's successor, Ken King, Maher said the pair were laser-focused on growing the local and doing the best job they could for their members. "Kenny taught me a lot," he said. "We sat right next to one another for years, tethered together almost."

That's why it came as a surprise when then-Second District International Vice President Frank Carroll approached him about becoming an international representative. "It wasn't something I'd ever looked to do, but it's a real honor," Maher said.

In 2001, then-International President Edwin D. Hill appointed him to the role, and Maher found joy in the details of his new job. "I loved the contracts and the research," he said. "Away from the attention, doing the paperwork and the background stuff, that's where I liked to be."

After 16 years in the Second District, Maher is looking forward to spending the summer at home on the Connecticut shore, volunteering and spending time with his wife Roxanne, their two daughters, Bridget and Dawn, and their four grandchildren, aged 15 to 8.

The officers, staff and membership of the IBEW wish Brother Maher all the best in his well-deserved retirement.


Brian S. Maher

Dale McCoy

Tenth District International Representative Dale McCoy retired effective May 1, wrapping up a 47-year career that began almost by accident.

In 1969, McCoy had just finished his freshman year at Southern State College — now known as Southern Arkansas University — when he stopped off at a Southwest Electric Power Co. plant to inquire about a potential summer job.

McCoy not only got the job, he stayed with the company for 38 years. He was initiated into Texarkana, Ark., Local 386 and became an outside lineman.

"It suited me fine," he said. "As a lineman, there's something new every day."

He also made his mark at Local 386. McCoy served on its executive board before being elected business manager and president in 1981, continuing in those roles for the next 26 years. He also served on the board of the U-9 American Electric Power System Council from 2002-07.

McCoy continued to work regularly as a lineman while he was a business manager. It made for some long hours, but it also helped him better understand his members' concerns, he said.

"I had a feel of what was going on in the field," he said.

In 2007, McCoy accepted an offer to join the Tenth District staff as an international representative. His three sons were grown and he had a long friendship with Tenth District Vice President Robert P. Klein.

"There is no one I respect more than Bobby Klein," said McCoy, adding he also enjoyed a close relationship with current Vice President Brent C. Hall, Klein's successor.

McCoy worked with nine locals, primarily in the western half of Arkansas. Most of them were utility and manufacturing locals, but he also worked with construction members.

"He's a very trusted colleague and one I depended on," Klein said.

Klein retired in October 2015 and was replaced by Hall, who had previously served as a Tenth District international representative alongside McCoy.

"Dale is the kind of person who could walk into a room with 100 strangers and leave with 100 new friends," Hall said. "He's very well-respected and I think that goes back to the fact he genuinely cares about people. And he always worked hard.

"He's earned his retirement, I can tell you that," he added.

In retirement, McCoy and his wife of 46 years, Nancy, plan to spend their time in and around their home near Gillham, Ark. (population 188). They live in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains and the area offers plenty of room for hunting and fishing and for hosting their three sons and six grandchildren, he said.

The only other hobby he plans to pursue is attending his grandchildren's sporting events.

"I'm not getting on another airplane," McCoy said. "I've done all the traveling I need to. I don't need that anymore. I've already given my frequent flyer miles to my son who lives in San Antonio."

The IBEW officers and staff wish Brother McCoy and his family a long and happy retirement.


Dale McCoy

Alan Goddard

The IBEW regrets to report that former Sixth District International Representative Alan Goddard died May 7. He was 68.

A native of South Bend, Ind., and second of 14 children, Brother Goddard was drafted by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969, but discharged soon after due to an injury. In 1970, he began working at the Mishawaka power plant owned by American Electric Power and represented by Fort Wayne, Local 1392.

He was asked early on to be a steward and four years later, at the age of 23, appointed president of the local.

"There was an older guy, Bob Alexander, who worked at the power plant and he was on jobs I was on. We'd eat together or get coffee. We'd talk politics and union issues and I never kept my mouth shut," Goddard told the Electrical Worker in 2015. "One day, I don't know what we were talking about, he said 'We need young guys like you who aren't afraid to speak their mind to get involved with the union.' And I said OK."

In 1988, after he served 10 years as business manager, then-International President J.J. Barry appointed him international representative assigned to the Sixth District. He remained in the position until he retired in 2015.

"Alan was a fiery guy," said Sixth District Vice President David J. Ruhmkorff. "He was a strong advocate for working people and a lifetime activist."

Goddard's travels throughout the district led him to his wife, Jessica Logan, who was then business manager of Chicago Local 1220. They met at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1991 and married in 1998.

"He lived, worked and breathed the IBEW," she said. "He had a lot of interests, but he was always loyal to the union."

Logan said one of Goddard's career highlights was teaching at the IBEW's Arbitration Institute, housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The four day-long course instructs attendees, including business managers and agents, international representatives and chief stewards how to prepare and present arbitration cases.

"He loved teaching," Logan said. "It was something he looked forward to every year. He turned that school into something really great."

Goddard also led the effort to create System Council U-9, consisting of locals representing AEP employees that coordinate organizing, strategizing and negotiating efforts.

"I grew up on that company and we fought tooth and nail for decades. A lot of people over the years struggled mightily to represent our workers," he told the Electrical Worker when he retired. "Now we think they are a model for the industry. The IBEW is one of the best friends they have and I think AEP management gladly recognizes that."

Brother Goddard served on the South Bend Area Labor Education Advisory Committee and the Indiana University Statewide Labor-Faculty Advisory Committee on Labor Education.

In his spare time, Goddard was an avid photographer and music lover, particularly blues and jazz. He was also a voracious reader, Logan said, with interests ranging from entomology to cartography.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by 12 of his siblings and many nieces and nephews. On behalf of the IBEW, the officers extend our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.


Alan Goddard


Grady Parks

The Brotherhood is saddened to report that former Twelfth District International Representative Grady Allen Parks died March 30.

Brother Parks was born in Little Rock, Ark., and was initiated into Local 1136 in 1952 when he got a job working at the Philips lighting plant.

He was vice president of Local 1136 from 1958 until he became president in 1960, a position he held until 1966. In 1960, Parks also joined the national negotiation committee and executive council for System Council EM-1, a position he held for five years. He returned to the system council executive board in 1970 and served until then-International President Charles H. Pillard appointed him Twelfth District international representative.

"Grady was a hard-working representative, easy to get along with. Strong willed, but that's how you had to be to be an organizer in Arkansas; it's how all of us got on staff," said former Twelfth District (the Tenth District since 1998) International Vice President Carl Lansden, who knew Parks for more than two decades.

Lansden said Parks was a tireless organizer across the South, working on organizing campaigns throughout the '70s and '80s including a fuse box company in Albemarle, N.C., Gould Battery in Fort Smith, Ark., Sharp in Memphis, Tenn., the Toshiba TV plant in Lebanon, Tenn., and many others.

Lansden said there was a moment working on the Gould Battery campaign that summed up who Parks was as an organizer. They were up in the deeply anti-union hills outside Fort Smith, door knocking together. As they walked toward a house, they heard the couple arguing, and Lansden didn't think it made much sense to bother knocking.

But Parks wouldn't have it. They had driven out that far, they were going to try.

They came to talk to the husband, but after knocking and saying who they were to the closed door, it was the wife that answered. Lansden said she just laid into them.

"She was yelling about unions, how she promised her mother on her deathbed that she would never vote for a union, on and on, and then she went to slam the door on us," he said. "Grady stuck his foot in the door! I'd never seen anyone do that in my life. I'd read about it. Then Grady starts telling her he didn't believe a word of it. 'Nobody can be that anti-union! I can't imagine a poor mother saying 'Oh daughter! Oh daughter! I'm dying; don't vote union' I can understand you're not voting for us, but please.'"

Lansden said he couldn't believe he'd said that, and the woman at the door was just as shocked.

This time, Lansden said, Parks let her close the door and he walked back to their car smiling.

"And, wouldn't you know, next time we went by that house, they invited us in and we talked with them for an hour," Lansden said. "That was Grady. He earned his salary."

The IBEW extends its deepest sympathy to the Parks family and friends. He will be missed.


Grady Parks