Passing of Robert Fronek and John Devlin

UWUA members, staff, and officers recently lost two union giants, retired Region III National Representative Robert Fronek, and UWUA Safety Director and Senior National Representative John Devlin. Their years of service to the membership will always be remembered. They will be missed.

John Devlin, Safety Director and Senior National Representative

John Devlin relaxing at home

John relaxing at home

uwuamag_fall2015_johndevlin1On November 13, UWUA Safety Director and Senior National Representative John Devlin passed away in his sleep at home in upstate New York. John, a member of Local 1-2, started working for the Consolidated Edison Company of New York in April 1971. He was hired as a janitor for the Indian Point Nuclear Generating Station. Six months later, John became an Operating Mechanic ‘B.’ In 1973, he was transferred to welding school and joined a traveling maintenance group doing overhauls on boilers and turbines in the Generating System.

In 1981, John went back to Indian Point as a Nuclear Mechanic ‘A,’ and became a shop steward in 1982. By 1990, he was appointed chief steward and headed the Nuclear Safety Committee in the station. John became an executive board member of Local 1-2 in 1992 and a business agent in 1993. He was appointed safety coordinator/senior national representative of the UWUA on May 1, 1997. With this appointment, his primary responsibility was in the area of safety and health, but he also continued to serve as a Region 1 national representative.

Since that time, John made his mark through the implementation of the Systems of Safety training for utility workers and employers. He succeeded in securing a number of grants over the years to improve safety and was instrumental in making the UWUA Power for America Training Trust a national model.

In September, he helped secure a prestigious Susan Harwood Training Grant from the US Department of Labor to improve safety for utility workers.

John lived, breathed, and preached safety first: “The one common factor among all utility workers that cannot be ignored at any cost, is safety. … Never sacrifice safety.”

Bob Fronek Retired Region III National Representative

Bob Fronek being sworn in to the National Executive Board in 2007.

Bob Fronek being sworn in to the National Executive Board in 2007.

On July 17, 2015, retired Region III National Representative Bob Fronek passed away. Utility Worker hearts go out to his wife, Kathleen, and the rest of his family.

A Cleveland, OH native, Bob became a union member in 1973 as a mechanic helper at Cleveland Electric IIIuminating Company, now FirstEnergy. He later became a meter reader and transferred to Lakeshore Power Plant, working his way to the top position of control room operator by 1997.

In 1995, Local 270 President Dave Koteki appointed Bob to the local’s Negotiating Committee and he moved up the ranks from there. In 1997, Fronek became the local’s financial secretary and in 2000, the vice president.

uwuamag_fall2015_bob1Bob rose to become president of Local 270, a position he held from 2003 – 2010. During that time, he joined the UWUA National Executive Board and in 2010 was appointed as national representative after the sudden passing of Bob Chet.

At that time he said, “I’d like to maintain what UWUA stands for and create good paying jobs, with good benefits,” adding, “When change happens, you have to make changes, too. Bob Chet taught me that.”