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About Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 17, 2006)
Cement Masons’ Del French to retire after 36 years
Del French, a general vice presi-
dent of the Operative Plasterers and
Cement Masons International Associ-
ation of the United States and Canada,
will retire at the end of the year.
A 36-year member and former
business manager of Portland-based
Cement Masons Local 555, French
went to work for the international
union in 1990 where he covered Ore-
gon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska,
Montana and Hawaii. He was ap-
pointed as a general vice president to
the Executive Board in 1995.
French, 57, is a native Washington-
ian, born in Vancouver and raised in
Hazel Dell. He joined the Navy after
graduating from Columbia River High
School. He served in Vietnam on the
USS Kitty Hawk.
He began his career as a union ce-
ment mason in Alaska. He returned to
Washington in 1970, joining Local
555 — the same local of which his
father, Lyle, was a member.
Five years later he was elected
president of the local, and in 1982 he
was elected business manager, suc-
ceeding Al Christianson, who retired.
It was under French’s leadership
that the union negotiated one of the
West Coast’s first “30-years-and-out”
retirement policies for cement ma-
Cement Masons International Rep Del French (seated) gets a pat on the back
from his son Doni and from Byron Loney (left), a former superintendent for
Hoffman Construction, during a retirement party held Oct. 28 in Portland.
French is retiring after 36 years with the union.
sons. This allowed cement finishers to
retire at any age without a reduction
of their pension.
“It’s a physically demanding job.
Finishers take a lot of abuse. This al-
lowed them to retire before they were
completely broken down,” French
For the next nine years French
worked closely with leaders of the
building trades crafts as president of
the Oregon State Building and Con-
struction Trades Council and as presi-
dent of the Five-Craft Heavy and
Highway Construction Division.
“I’ve met a lot of great people and
made a lot of lifelong friends,” French
told the Northwest Labor Press.
A number of building trades col-
leagues attended his retirement party
Oct. 28 in Portland. They included
LeRoy Worley, retired general secre-
tary of the International Iron Workers;
Tom Worley, retired business manager
of Portland Iron Workers Local 29;
Jim McNanny, retired business man-
ager of Bricklayers Local 1; Bruce
Temple, retired business manager of
Local 555; Jerry Krahn, retired busi-
ness agent for the Carpenters Union,
and Walt LaChappelle, a retired busi-
ness agent for the Teamsters.
Operative Plasterers and Cement
Masons General President John
Dougherty and General Secretary-
Treasurer Patrick Finley spoke at the
event, praising French for his commit-
ment to the labor movement.
The entire International Union’s
Executive Board came to Portland to
wish French well.
Masters of ceremonies for the
event were Roger Bettermann, a for-
mer business manager of Seattle Ce-
ment Masons Local 528, who will
succeed French as an international
representative; and Calvin McKinnis,
business manager of Portland Plaster-
ers Local 82.
Other speakers included Bob
Shiprack, executive secretary-treas-
urer of the Oregon State Building
Trades Council; Byron Loney, a for-
mer superintendent with Hoffman
Construction; Scott Gardner of Gard-
ner Financial Group; and Billy
Mitchell, a retired business manager
of Iron Workers Local 29.
Family members in attendance
were French’s wife of 36 years, Sh-
eryl, his mother, Maxine, and two
sons, identical twins Doni and Deni.
Both are members of Plumbers and
Fitters Local 290.
The Frenches live in Ridgefield,
Wash. In retirement, they plan to fish,
attend auto shows and dote on their
grandchildren. Together they have re-
stored a 1940 Ford two-door sedan
and a custom 1946 International
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NOVEMBER 17, 2006
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