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November 2021

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Mike Daugherty

Sixth District International Representative Mike Daugherty, who serviced construction locals throughout the Midwest for two decades and served for a time as Construction and Maintenance Director, retired April 1.

Born and raised in Gary, Ind., Brother Daugherty grew up in an area referred to by Hoosier State residents as The Region. It includes long stretches along Lake Michigan near Chicago and is a longtime hotbed for the domestic steel industry, giving it historically a strong union presence.

Daugherty saw that firsthand while growing up. His father, Donald, worked construction as a member of Gary and Hammond Local 697. A grandfather worked on the railroad and was also an IBEW member.

The younger Daugherty loved sports, especially football. He was a four-year letter winner at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he was a linebacker and defensive end, before graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1979.

A few months later, he was accepted into Local 697's apprenticeship program. His goal was to become an electrical contractor and the combination of a journeyman's license and college degree figured to be a good starting point.

Outside events convinced him to change his mind.

"By 1980, interest rates were just through the roof and almost killed the residential and light commercial markets, which are usually good starting points in the contracting business," Daugherty said. "I was working for a really good contractor at the time and making good wages. I thought 'I'll just stay with this and see how it goes.'"

Daugherty said IBEW members he considered mentors encouraged him to get involved in Local 697 and he became a regular at local meetings. He went on to serve as a steward and on Local 697's executive and examining boards.

He took over as business manager in 1992, when he was appointed to fill the term of Tim Collins, who had moved to the Sixth District office. He was elected to the position one year later.

"I loved it," he said. "It's the best job I've ever had. It was challenging. You make meaningful decisions for the membership. You have your finger on the pulse of the construction economy. You can make an impact on people's lives, whether it's raises in wages under the collective bargaining agreement or the goodwill you spread through work in the community."

Yet, it turned out to be a short tenure. He was appointed an international representative in the Construction and Maintenance Department in 1996 and moved his family to suburban Washington, D.C.

"It was a tough decision," Daugherty said. "I was a relatively new business manager when I got the call and I wanted to stay at the local union. But friends, mentors and colleagues, as I talked to them, they almost all said, 'You know what? This is a great opportunity.'"

Just one year later, Daugherty was named the department's director. He served there through 1997 before being assigned to the Sixth District office, a role he stayed in until his retirement.

Current Local 697 Business Manager Joree Richards met Daugherty when he interviewed Richards during his application to become an apprentice. The two have remained close ever since.

"When he met me, he talked about the opportunity the IBEW offered," Richards said. "If you participate actively and take this seriously, it's almost like the sky was the limit.

"Now was I thinking about that 30 years ago? No. But I learned I wanted to make this my path."

Richards, who also grew up in Gary and is Black, said Daugherty worked to educate inner-city students — most of whom have never heard of the IBEW — about the potential of a career in the trades. Richards served as a Local 697 business representative for eight years before taking over as business manager this year.

"Mike was always available for questions and getting answers for me," he said. "Early on, when he was at the international [office] and then later in my career, when I was brought into the office, he was one of the first people to give me a call and say, 'I'm still here for you.' Just always being a consummate resource."

In retirement, Daugherty plans to keep his home in Crown Point, Ind., and devote more time to a long list of hobbies, including playing golf, hunting, fishing, traveling and attending sporting events, particularly those of Chicago teams. He also plans to spend more time with a Golden Retriever he adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also on the docket: Spending more time with his wife, Donna, with whom he will celebrate his 40th anniversary next year. The couple has two adult children.

"I can't put into words how thankful and proud I am to be an IBEW member and to work for the brotherhood for the last 25 years," he said. "It's truly been a great experience."

The officers and staff thank Brother Daugherty for his service and wish him and his family a long and happy retirement.


Mike Daugherty

Donald L. Mahoney

The IBEW is deeply saddened to report the death of retired International Representative Donald L. Mahoney. He was 93.

"To the family of Don Mahoney, I can't express how much Don meant to myself and the IBEW," International President Lonnie R. Stephenson said of his friend. "He was a mentor of mine and taught me a lot about the IBEW, organizing and most of all being a caring human being who was always looking to help others."

A Chicago native and proud Irishman, Brother Mahoney was initiated into Chicago Local 134 in 1948 and worked as a PBX installer for the Illinois Bell telephone company. He also served as chief steward. His career highlights included serving as labor liaison on the floor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention for then-Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

In August 1959, he was appointed an international representative, servicing locals in what was then called the Telephone Field as well as the Sixth District. During his decades-long tenure, Brother Mahoney worked as an organizer and in 1970 on negotiations against AT&T to help settle a nationwide strike. He also helped to organize 40,00 workers into 19 locals in six states with New England Bell.

"When I was a young union trustee in the early '90s, Don serviced our local as an international representative. He was a wealth of knowledge and was always willing to share," said Local 134 Treasurer John Dalton. "He offered constructive criticism as well as opening doors to other locals in the Midwest for me to learn from. We have been friends ever since."

Mahoney's passion for workers' rights was in part spurred by the death of his father, William, who died working on a job at a steel company. When Don was just 13, his father was crushed by a crane, leaving his mother to care for him and his siblings.

"That tragedy made a lasting impression on him for the rest of his life," Dalton said. "His life's passion was to serve others by fairly representing their interests for better working conditions, pay and benefits."

Mahoney was active in retirement as well, serving on the executive council of Local 134's Retirees Club. He was also active in politics and enjoyed golfing, skiing, and labor and Irish history. He donated a number of items to Local 134, including early tools used by phone members and numerous convention items.

"His knowledge of IBEW history was unmatched," Dalton said. "He was always willing to share that information."

Mahoney's wife, Deloris, said that Don also donated every month to Local 134's Helping Hands Fund, which helps members in need, providing both financial and emotional support.

"He helped everybody. He was very concerned for everyone in Local 134 and all of the IBEW," she said. "He was a very good man and he worked hard for the union."

Dalton says that a friend of Mahoney's told him that even in retirement, Mahoney would regularly have lunch with other retired international representatives as well as business managers and officers.

"A lot of times the subject of organizing would come up and some of his lunch companions would brag on Don how he won more organizing elections than anyone else ever had. Don being the humble person that he was would remind them that 'you don't win the most elections in organizing without also losing the most elections,'" Dalton said.

Brother Mahoney is survived by his wife of 29 years, Deloris. His first wife, Irene, died in 1984. He is survived by their two daughters, Barbara and Colleen, Colleen's sons, Anthony, Aidan and Dominic, and his brother Gene, who was also a Local 134 member. He was predeceased by his brother William and sister Marylyn.

The IBEW extends its sincerest condolences to Brother Mahoney's family and many friends.


Donald L. Mahoney