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December 2021

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James F. Mulloney

James F. Mulloney, who represented the Second District on the International Executive Council for two decades while leading a powerful manufacturing local in the second half of the 20th century, died in April. He was 97.

Mulloney was appointed to the IEC in 1970, and elected four times, rising to be its secretary. He retired from the Council and from his legendary 35-year stewardship of Waltham, Mass., Local 1505 in 1991.

During his tenure as business manager, the local represented as many as 17,000 Raytheon employees at multiple plants whose work included major defense contracts.

"He was larger than life," said Frank Carroll, retired Second District international vice president. "He was absolutely passionate, and he took no prisoners. He worked very hard, he was well respected, and he was very well connected politically."

So much so that Carroll recalled a joke told by an IBEW brother nominating Mulloney for a third term on the IEC at the 1982 Convention.

"He said, 'This gentlemen, he's got more connections… the president of the United States calls him every other day. The governor doesn't make a move without talking to Jimmy.'"

That may have stretched the truth, but Mulloney built strong decades-long relationships with Sen. Ted Kennedy, Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O'Neill and other political leaders in his state and region who had the power to make IBEW members' lives better through legislation and federal contracts.

As impressive as Mulloney's network of VIPs was, he was a union man in the truest sense, his friends and family said.

"Jim was a very, very brilliant individual and a great asset to the IBEW," said former Scranton, Pa., Local 81 Business Manager Jack McNulty, who served with him on the IEC for 13 years.

"I was elected in 1978 and we became instant friends," McNulty said. "He had that great sense of Irish humor. As IEC members, we traveled all over the country and Canada and he always kept me laughing."

Mulloney's talents and connections opened doors to lucrative job offers, but he wasn't interested, said his son, Brian Mulloney, one of several siblings who followed their father into Raytheon and the union.

"He had opportunities to take jobs that would have paid him a lot more, but he truly believed in the union movement," he said "He kept his own wages tied to the workers' wages that he negotiated. If they did well, he did well."

The son of a milkman, James Mulloney grew up in the Boston suburb of Somerville. He overcame polio as a child, going on to be a star high school athlete and earning a basketball scholarship to Boston University.

He served on a destroyer warship in the Pacific during World War II and was living in veterans' housing in Massachusetts with his wife, Louise, when he started work at Raytheon as a precision mechanical inspector in 1951.

Brian Mulloney said his father had a sharp mind for math and science, with a gift for sophisticated calibrations before there were calculators or other advanced tools. But he also had a wealth of people skills.

He quickly became involved in the union, rising from steward to president to business manager of Local 1505 in 1966.

Mulloney pushed Raytheon to set up training programs that gave workers new skills and upward mobility, a process that also involved streamlining an unwieldy number of job and pay grades.

"The company resisted at first, but then realized that, 'Yes, this is a great thing for us,' because they were promoting better-qualified people," Brian Mulloney said. "Thousands of people availed themselves of those classes, including a lot of women. He was especially proud of that."

He described his father as champion of women in the workforce who also "was really blind to colors" in a way that made him an outlier in his era.

Mulloney had no patience for the "old boys club" on the job or in the union. From stewards on up, "he wanted people promoted based on their abilities," his son said.

He held annual retreats for his 100-plus stewards, making sure they knew how to write grievances, understood Robert's Rules of Order and were otherwise well prepared to serve their units.

Mulloney always had command of a room, and impressed people on both sides of the bargaining table, his son said, something he got to see firsthand as a steward and eventually an assistant business manager.

"I had the good fortune to be in negotiations with him. He never tried to hurt the company. He fought for what was fair and deserved."

Mulloney led one strike at the beginning of his era as business manager. He did so reluctantly, his son said, but knew it was necessary, laying a foundation for a stronger union going forward, and respect from the employer.

"When we were in bargaining, the chief negotiator would pull me aside and he couldn't speak highly enough about my dad," Brian Mulloney said.

His father was sharp until his final days, tapping his steel-trap memory to recount generations-old tales. "He could recall what people said in a meeting," Brian Mulloney said with a laugh. "I'd say, 'Dad, we're not re-litigating that.' This was like two days before he passed away."

Mulloney and his late wife were married 57 years. During his long retirement, they spent winters in Florida. They enjoyed traveling and spending time with their large family, including numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In addition to them, Mulloney is survived by four of his six children.

The IBEW sends its sincere condolences to Brother Mulloney's family and friends, with deep appreciation for his half century of dedicated service.


James F. Mulloney

Jack J. Bove

Jack J. Bove, a retired international representative who worked for 12 years in the Railroad Department, died on Oct. 2. He was 92.

Born in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., Bove came from a long line of Long Island Rail Road workers: His father worked as a LIRR trackman, and his brother was a career LIRR engineer. Later, his daughter, Frances, worked for the railroad as a steno-typist while her husband served as a gang foreman.

After attending what was then known as Woodrow Wilson Vocational High School in Queens, Bove began his own career with the LIRR as an electrician in the agency's maintenance of equipment department in 1948, the same year that he was initiated into Jamaica, N.Y., Local 589.

Bove became active with Local 589 early on, pausing in 1951 to serve a two-year commitment in Korea with the U.S. Army's Signal Corps. After returning to the states, he served on his local's safety committee and then as a local chairman. From 1959 to 1962, Bove was Local 589's treasurer; from there, he moved into a nine-year role as financial secretary before becoming the local's general chairman, a position he held until 1982.

"He was a gentle giant at work, very humble," said Bove's son John, a retired LIRR engineer. "Everybody knew the man. He was a well-respected union man, and he was instrumental in a lot of agreements."

In the early 1900s, for example, LIRR's work rule book was four pages thick, John said. "Now it's about 206 pages," he said, largely thanks to his father's efforts to codify things. "My dad knew how dangerous railroad work can be."

Today, John said, a variety of memorandums and affidavits that were drafted and signed by his father are appendices to Local 589's collective bargaining agreement with the LIRR, including a historic agreement he helped negotiate to change the railroad's seven-day work week to five days. However, one contribution that Bove may be remembered for most is one he made in retirement.

For decades, John said, the LIRR's unions and management had informally agreed that, as conditions allowed, workers could request to be released a few hours early on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, and sometimes both. Over time, the practice became an accepted tradition, but a few years ago, new leaders at the railroad attempted to end it. Grievances were filed in protest by shop organizations.

"So we went to Jack, who signed an affidavit stating that the practice went back to 1947," John Bove said. "The arbitrator ruled in our favor and now [the policy] is in writing."

Current Local 589 General Chairman Ricardo Sanchez said that a story like this indicates the level of respect that Bove commanded. "He was the epitome of a union man," Sanchez said. "He really knew the history of the local, and he felt it was an honor to be someone I could always talk to."

Today, when younger workers say things like, "The railroad takes care of us," Sanchez reminds them that it's not because the LIRR is benevolent. "It's because of people like Jack and his lifetime of work," Sanchez said.

In addition to his IBEW duties, Bove served on the Central Labor Rehabilitation Council of New York. He also took courses on negotiations and arbitration from the State University of New York at Farmingdale, and he handled IBEW railroad member cases before the Public Law Board and the Special Board of Adjustment.

In 1982, then-IBEW International President Charles Pillard appointed Bove as an international representative with the union's Tenth District, which covered the IBEW's Railroad business at the time. As a rep, "He was always on the road for the IBEW, dedicated to making workers' lives better," John Bove said. "Many times, I would go to work, and people would hear my name and then tell me good things about my dad. It meant a lot to me, and it made me a better worker."

During and after Bove's active service with the IBEW, he was also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and he was appointed by the national president of the Sons of Italy as his local lodge's principal trustee.

Bove and his family also were well known for their passion for traveling, with favorite destinations ranging anywhere from nearby Atlantic City to Italy. Even after he retired in 1994, Bove remained physically active, bowling, gardening and playing cards as well as traveling and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

One granddaughter, Jackie Bove, recalled that when she was in school, her grandfather often watched her play lacrosse even in other states. "He was always the biggest family man," said Jackie, who now works as chief administrative support to the LIRR's Maintenance of Equipment Department. "He was the most giving and generous grandfather. It took me a few years to understand the magnitude of his impact at work. It was kind of cool that I got to kind of share working for the railroad with him."

Bove was preceded in death by his daughter, Rose, in 2013, and his wife of 64 years, Angelina, in 2018.

"Jack lived his life in the service of the men and women who work in the rail industry every day to make their lives better," said Sanchez. "He was part of a group of labor leaders who changed our very lives. Many of us were lucky to have known him and call him a friend."

"It's always sad to see the old-timers pass," said John Bove, "but Jack was a special old-timer, a great role model and my father. He loved the IBEW. A great man, right to the very last."

The brotherhood sends its deepest condolences to the entire Bove family.


Jack J. Bove