The Electrical Worker online
January 2018

index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
John Bourne

After 40 years in the IBEW, Business Development International Representative John Bourne retired, effective Sept. 1.

"I love chasing work, but it was time," he said. "I didn't leave the job because I hated it. I just didn't want to wake up in motels anymore; I wanted to be home."

Brother Bourne is a third generation Omaha, Neb., Local 22 member. His grandfather, John F. Burke, became a member in 1918. His father, John P. Bourne, and two uncles were also members and his father-in-law, the owner of a signatory contractor, was his grandfather's apprentice.

"All I ever wanted to do was be an electrician," Bourne said. "I loved listening to my dad as we drove around town say, 'I built that.' I liked the accomplishment of doing the job."

Bourne joined the IBEW in 1977, straight out of high school. He topped out in 1980 and within a year was elected recording secretary. In 1982 he was made a foreman for OK Electric. He joined the executive board in 1984 and became vice president of Local 22 in 1986.

In 1989, Bourne was brought in to be an assistant business manager and, following the retirement of then-Business Manager Walt Smith in 1994, the executive board appointed Bourne to the post. He held the office for 12 years, winning four elections, all but one unopposed.

Bourne said one of his proudest achievements was only missing four union meetings in 26 years.

"I remember exactly why I missed them too: the births of my children, a death in the family and, once, my wife Karen scheduled a vacation without checking the calendar," he said.

When Bourne began as business manager, Local 22 had 525 members. When he left the position the local had more than 1,100, although he was quick to share the credit with his NECA partners and the staff organizers.

"The key was we had fun organizing. We had fun working with the project owners, bringing in contractors and stripping individual workers," he said. "I always tried to pass that along: organizing should be a hoot."

Bourne served on nearly two dozen local, state and national boards including the Tenth District Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Council on Industrial Relations, the state of Nebraska Judicial Nominating Commission and the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee; and as president of the Omaha and southwest Iowa Building Trades Council, vice president of the Omaha Federation of Labor and a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in Los Angeles and Boston.

In 2006, Bourne was hired by former International President Edwin D. Hill to be an Eleventh District International Representative servicing inside and railroad locals in Iowa and Nebraska.

The capstone of his career came in 2012, when he was appointed one of the first International Representatives in the newly formed Business Development department.

"John was literally born for the job," said Business Development Director Ray Kasmark. "He'd been doing this for decades, and he was the guy I went to for mentoring and insight. Everybody did."

Kasmark said Bourne understood how to create relationships with developers so he always knew what work was coming. He also knew how to build trust with contractors to make sure they were ready to make competitive bids.

"His manner made him good at this. He is a disarming person, never confrontational, always up, always positive," Kasmark said.

Bourne picked up ice hockey in his 60s, and plans to spend his retirement golfing, playing hockey and learning his new passion: curling. He is also mulling over a run for office.

"If I did anything, I brought enthusiasm and I wasn't afraid to work, and that's how I hope I am remembered," he said.

Please join the officers in thanking Brother Bourne for his tireless efforts for his brothers and sisters. We wish him a long, healthy and adventurous retirement.


John Bourne

Michael Power

First District International Representative Michael Power retired Oct. 1, capping almost 50 years of service.

Brother Power was initiated into St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Local 2330 in 1970, then transferred to Churchill Falls Local 2351 in 1972 so he could do electrical maintenance work for the local utility company. In 1976, he was elected president and business manager, a position he held until 1992 when he was appointed international representative.

"I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mike," said Local 2351 Business Manager Dean Harris. "He's incredibly knowledgeable and just an all-around good guy."

Power served on the pension, grievance, apprenticeship and labor management and negotiations committees at Local 2351. He was also well versed in provincial labor laws even though his focus was Newfoundland and Labrador, his home province, said International Representative Brian Matheson, who has known Power since 1978.

"If you needed someone to help you, whether it was developing training courses for shop stewards or business managers, or with negotiations or investigations, you asked for Mike," Matheson said. "He was good at everything he did."

Among his numerous achievements, Power says the one that stands out was when he negotiated the contract for the Muskrat Falls transmission project, a CA$8.5 billion hydro project that connects Newfoundland to Labrador and its hydroelectric power, and will eventually extend south to Nova Scotia.

All the electrical transmission, switchyard and support construction work was done solely by the IBEW under a special project agreement, employing more than 3,000 members during peak construction. The project, which was done under the Code of Excellence at the request of the company, Nalcor, began in 2013 and is expected to finish in 2019.

"It is a massive job for us," Power said of the project to build a generating station with a capacity of more than 800 megawatts.

Power says he's enjoying having more time to hunt and work on projects around the house, as well as spending time with his wife, Tina, and his children and grandchildren. But he does miss his IBEW brothers and sisters, he said.

"I miss the camaraderie," said Power, who also served as a reserve officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. "I made friends across Canada and the U.S. Being an international representative was a very rewarding and enjoyable career."

Power said he considers his work with the IBEW to have been more than just a job.

"A career is something that you live and breathe. It's part of your person," he said. "It doesn't just end when you clock out. Whether it was Sunday night or Monday morning, I was there."

The IBEW officers, members and staff are grateful to Brother Power for his years of service and wish him many happy years of retirement.


Michael Power

Richard M. Redmond

Third District International Representative Richard Redmond retired in November after a 47-year career in the IBEW.

Initiated into Long Island, N.Y., Local 1049 in 1970, Brother Redmond followed his older brother into the union, starting as a groundman at the Long Island Lighting Co. By 1973, he'd started his lineman apprenticeship, which he finished in 1977. The next year, he was elected to the local's executive board for the first of four terms, the start of a long and distinguished career as an IBEW leader.

In 1981, then-business manager Rich Thompson brought Redmond on staff as a business representative.

"I'd worked for Rich Thompson as a groundman and as an apprentice, and he was really a mentor to me," Redmond said. "I had tremendous respect for his devotion to the members, and I was excited to work on his staff."

It was a proud moment, then, when Thompson asked Redmond to run in his place after announcing his retirement in 1989. At the time, Local 1049 represented more than 3,000 members in the utility and line construction industries, making it one of the largest locals on Long Island.

Over the next eight years as business manager, Brother Redmond led his local through the turbulent times of utility deregulation, negotiating the takeover of local utilities by the Long Island Power Authority and the acquisition of the Long Island power grid by his former employer. He also oversaw negotiations around the shutdown of the Shoreham nuclear plant and its impact on his members.

During that time, Redmond served as chairman of the Third District's Labor and Management Public Affairs Agenda Committee and sat on the IBEW's Electric Power Industry Restructuring Committee, the Third District's Competitive Opportunities Committee and on the New York State Assembly speaker's Electric Energy Roundtable. He was also one of four IBEW representatives to travel to Japan for a cultural exchange to study that country's labor movement.

It was no surprise to anyone who knew him when then-international president J.J. Barry appointed Brother Redmond as an international representative in the Third District in 1997. He'd go on to hold the job for more than 20 years servicing outside construction, manufacturing, telecommunications and utility locals.

Redmond is most proud of the work he did negotiating project labor agreements across the district, mainly for outside construction projects, that generated billions of dollars of work for IBEW lineworkers. The excitement of negotiations was always a challenge he welcomed.

Over his many years in service to the IBEW, Brother Redmond has served on numerous boards, including the executive board for the Long Island Federation of Labor, the New York State Association of Electrical Workers, the Utility Labor Council for New York State and as chairman of the Second and Third District Outside Business Managers' Caucus. He also sat on the New York State Committee on Safety and Health, the Long Island Occupational Safety and Health Clinic and the Long Island Political Action Committee for Labor.

Redmond also enjoyed — and continues to enjoy — giving back to his community. His involvement with the United Way of Long Island goes back more than 40 years, having served on the charity's board of directors for a number of years. He sits on the Long Island alumni council for his alma mater, Cornell University, where he graduated from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1983.

In retirement, Brother Redmond will remain active, having accepted an appointment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to join the board of SUNY College at Farmingdale, where he attended night school at the beginning of his IBEW career. A father of six and grandfather of seven, he looks forward to spending more time with family, golf and travel. His wife Ellen is an international representative on the Third District staff, and four sons, Ron and Joe, who are journeymen linemen; Ryan, a service operator; and Kennedy, a groundman and full-time college student, are also members of Local 1049.

On behalf of the officers, staff and entire membership of the IBEW, we wish Brother Redmond a long, happy and healthy retirement and thank him for his career serving the Brotherhood.


Richard M. Redmond