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November 2022

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Frank J. Furco

Frank Furco, a member of the IBEW's International Executive Council and business manager of Lisle, Ill., Local 701, has retired from the IBEW.

Born in a military hospital in Junction City, Kan., Furco and his family moved back to their home in the greater Chicagoland area soon afterward.

Upon finishing high school, "I decided I wasn't the classroom type," Furco said. But having watched his father, Frank Sr., work for years as a Local 701 journeyman inside wireman, "I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do," he said.

Just about any story about the younger Furco's burgeoning involvement with the IBEW begins with his strong leadership on his local's softball team, which attracted the attention of then-Business Manager Stan Perry.

Toward the end of the 1980s, Perry asked Furco to come on board as a teacher at Local 701's apprenticeship school. Five fruitful years later, then-Business Manager Art Ludwig convinced Furco to run — successfully — for the local's executive board.

It turned out to be the start of Furco's 15-year climb within Local 701, including stints as organizer, business agent and assistant business manager. During this time, he also served on many of the local's committees as well as its health and pension trusts.

In 2010, Furco was appointed to replace outgoing Local 701 Business Manager Kenneth Lambert. A month later, he was elected to the position.

"Being elected business manager was a major accomplishment," Furco said. "Up to then, I never saw myself in that position."

Under Furco's leadership, Local 701's steady growth allowed it to upgrade and build out its facilities and to hire a full-time organizer.

"Frank left things better than he found them," said Anthony Giunti, Furco's successor as business manager for Local 701, which now boasts nearly 1,600 members. "Everything he did advanced our mission. He always stuck up for the members."

Having worked on numerous organizing campaigns throughout his nearly 45-year IBEW career, Furco said he always considered organizing a top priority for the IBEW, critical for the union to keep pace with the ever-growing construction industry.

Furco also served a full five-year term on the IBEW-NECA Council on Industrial Relations, and he was secretary-treasurer of the DuPage County, Ill., Building and Construction Trades Council. Additionally, he served as treasurer of the labor-management Construction Industry Service Corporation.

Although Furco was generally known as an even-tempered leader, Giunti recalled one time watching Furco get into a rather heated argument with a project manager. "Frank used it as a teaching moment," Giunti said with a laugh. "He turned to us and said, 'That's how not to talk to a manager.'"

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson appointed Furco in 2017 to represent the Fifth IEC District, whose IBEW members hail from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Furco was elected to that office in May when delegates to the IBEW's 40th International Convention in Chicago unanimously ratified the choices of the union's district caucuses.

Looking back on his career, Furco acknowledged the longtime support of his predecessors as Local 701 business manager: Ludwig, for appointing him to be an organizer, and Jerry O'Connor, who went on to serve as the IBEW's international secretary-treasurer from 2001 to 2005. "Any time I had questions, I knew I could count on Jerry," Furco said.

His retirement from the IEC was effective Sept. 1. Now, "I'm going to work on improving my golf game," Furco said. After years of union activism that often took him away from his family, he also plans to spend more time with his wife of 31 years, Laura, wintering in the family's second home in Florida.

For the extended Furco family, IBEW membership has been multi-generational: In addition to his father, Furco's two younger brothers, Tim and Jim, are also IBEW members, as are his son, Frank II — now a fifth-year apprentice — and a nephew. And that might not be the end of the family's IBEW lineage: In September, Furco became a grandfather for the first time.

Please join the officers and the entire IBEW membership in wishing Furco nothing but best wishes for a long and happy retirement.


Frank J. Furco

Donald Finn

Chicago Local 134 Business Manager Donald Finn was appointed by International President Lonnie R. Stephenson to fill the unexpired term of retiring Fifth District International Executive Council member Frank Furco. The appointment was effective Sept. 1.

Finn will be finishing the remaining four years of Lisle, Ill., Local 701 Business Manager Frank Furco's term in office. Furco is retiring as a business manager and, as is traditional, stepping down from the IEC as well.

Finn will be the third member of Local 134 to sit on the senior governing committee of the IBEW. Former Business Manager Mike Boyle was the Fifth District International Executive Board member from 1913 to 1930. In 1928 the IEB was renamed the International Executive Council and Boyle continued to serve until 1930. Charles Paulsen followed Boyle and served until 1932.

"I am extremely proud that our membership has a seat at the table. There is amazing work being done across the Fifth IEC District, and I will do my utmost to be their voice," he said.

Brother Finn comes from a strong trade union family, though not an IBEW one.

His father, James Finn, was a business representative for UA Local 130 in Chicago for more than 20 years. Two of his brothers, Jim and Dave, followed their father and are now retired members of UA Local 130. Finn isn't the only one to leave the fold; his brother Larry was the president of Carpenters Local 141 in Chicago until he passed away. Tom is a retired assistant fire chief, and Finn's sister Nancy is a retired union public school teacher and steward.

Finn grew up in the union stronghold of Oak Lawn and was brought to the IBEW by a neighbor, Jerry Cody, the former president of Local 134.

"There were tons of union families in Oak Lawn — still are. Growing up there, you aspired to be in the trades, the police, or the fire department," Finn said. "People were proud of their jobs. Proud they could raise a family, own a house, send their kids to a good school, and retire. And everybody was in a union."

He was drawn to electrical work from a young age, he said. "I just became fascinated by it. I already understood the plumbing and carpentry world. I wanted to look into something different," he said.

Finn joined the Local 134 apprenticeship in 1987 and quickly took to leadership. He was made steward on his first job after topping out and was the steward and foreman on significant projects for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Northwestern Hospital and Westbrook Corporate Center.

In the early 1990s, he was appointed a meeting inspector.

"We made sure there was order in the meeting," he said. "If there were issues, we made sure they were resolved amicably."

In 2001, Finn went to work for Cook County as a bull steward for all Local 134 members working county jobs.

"It was a great learning experience, working with lots of different contractors," he said. "It opened my eyes up to how much more I could help people."

During his time with the county, he co-founded and served as president of the Cook County Coalition of Trades.

In 2012, Finn put down the tools and accepted a job offer to be the South Loop business representative, taking on Cook County, the Chicago Parks District, and the University of Illinois units. "I liked helping people and giving workers a voice," he said.

In 2014, Finn took over as business manager of the sprawling membership. There are 12,000 members in Local 134. Two-thirds are construction electricians, but the local covers everyone from communication workers to court reporters to Metra public transit workers and the technicians who maintain the parimutuel totalizator machines at Chicagoland horse tracks.

Finn will be finishing the remaining four years of Lisle, Ill., Local 701 Business Manager Frank Furco's term in office. Furco is retiring as a business manager and, as is traditional, stepping down from the IEC as well.

The nine-member IEC is the most senior governing body in the brotherhood. It meets quarterly to fulfill judicial, pension fund and policy duties. Members are elected at and serve between International Conventions; the chairman, currently New York Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erikson, is elected at-large, and the other eight are elected by regional districts.

The Council is the final authority on awarding pensions and disability benefits, acts as appeals for decisions made by the International President and names a successor if the office is vacated, and approves or recommends constitutional amendments

The officers request that all members of the IBEW assist Brother Finn as he assumes his new duties and join them in wishing him success in his new position.


Donald Finn

Norman Sachse

Retired Seventh District International Representative Norman Sachse, who serviced multiple branches during his 14 years on the district staff after serving as a business manager in west Texas, died Aug. 28. He was 85.

"As I said at his eulogy, all his friends growing up were electricians," said his daughter, Dawn Sachse. "All his close buddies throughout his life were electricians. He told me, 'I've known them my entire life.'"

Brother Sachse was born in Clarendon in the Texas Panhandle but moved throughout his childhood. His father was a union carpenter and the family moved to wherever he could find work, his daughter said.

The Sachses settled during Norman's teenage years in El Paso in far western Texas, where he graduated from high school. He attended Texas Western University — now the University of Texas at El Paso — for a time and intended to become an engineer before changing his mind while working on a construction site.

"I once asked him why he never finished college," Dawn Sachse said. "He told me he was making more money [as a union electrician]."

Sachse joined El Paso Local 583 in November 1958 and eventually topped out as an inside wireman. He was elected to the executive board in 1963 and took over as business manager in 1972, serving in the position for the next 15 years.

He was a member of the Grievance and Appeals Committee at the 1982 International Convention in Los Angeles and a delegate to the national AFL-CIO convention in 1984.

In 1987, he joined the Seventh District staff under then-International Vice President Orville Tate. Local 583 had a diversified membership in terms of branches served, including inside and outside construction and manufacturing.

That made him especially valuable as a service rep, Tate said, who also was impressed that he handled his own arbitration cases during his time as business manager and won seven of the nine he filed.

Sachse understood the needs of business managers and their members, no matter their backgrounds and where they were employed, Tate said. He also organized steward training for many years.

"He was a meticulous record keeper," Tate said. "I could ask him a question and if he didn't have an answer right away, he would have it in 15 minutes. He was just a very good rep who you never had to worry about. He always got the job done."

Local 583 has jurisdiction in four counties in southeastern New Mexico and Sachse served two terms as president of the New Mexico Association of Electrical Workers.

"That tells you how highly those people thought of him, that they were willing to elect him president even though he was business manager of a Texas-based local," Tate said.

Sachse later served one term as vice president of the Texas Association of Electrical Workers and was secretary-treasurer of the El Paso Building and Construction Trades Council. He and his family moved to Lakeway, Texas, near Austin when he joined the Seventh District staff and he lived there the rest of his life. He retired in 2001.

In retirement, Sachse enjoyed spending time with family and traveling with his wife, Creedena. The two met while attending El Paso's Austin High School and were married for 64 years until her death in 2019. Creedena Sachse had multiple sclerosis for the final 42 years of her life but that only seemed to deepen the bond between her and her husband, Dawn said.

"My Dad's first love was my mother and his second was the union," she said.

In addition to Dawn, Brother Sachse is survived by his son, Curtis, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Dawn Sachse said her father should be remembered as "a very ethical and moral person. He would always support you as your union rep, but he was also honest and would tell it like it is."

The officers and staff offer their condolences to Brother Sachse's family and appreciation for his service to the IBEW.


Norman Sachse