Former District 13 Director Remembered for Impacting Members’ Lives

USW members mourned the loss of former District 13 Director John Michael “Mickey” Breaux, who passed away unexpectedly Aug. 20. He was 75.

“Mickey was one-of-a-kind,” said D13 Director Ruben Garza “We broke bread at my house with my family. Even though we disagreed sometimes, I believe there was always a mutual respect between us. I wish Mickey peace in heaven, and I pray for his family. He will be missed.”

A graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in 1964, Mickey attended Lamar University and served in the U.S. Army. He worked as an hourly safety rep. at the Fina refinery (now TotalEnergies) in Port Arthur, Texas. As a member of Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers (OCAW) Local 4-23, he chaired the workman’s committee and bargained for his unit during contract negotiations.

In 1993, Mickey became a staff rep. and continued in that position after OCAW merged with the Paperworkers union in January 1999 to form PACE. He serviced all the units in Local 227 except for the LyondellBasell and ChevronPhillips units.

One of his most significant achievements was settlement of the five-year Crown Central Petroleum lockout through many late-night negotiations and close work with former OCAW President Bob Wages. Mickey put together the final deal that settled the lockout.

After leaving his staff position, he became the Rapid Response coordinator for District 13 when PACE merged with the Steelworkers union in April 2005. In 2006, then USW International President Leo W. Gerard appointed him District 13 director. Mickey retired in 2014.

“Mickey was a dedicated trade unionist,” said USW International President Tom Conway, “and he worked tirelessly on behalf of working people. Our USW family will miss him.”

Retired USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who was previously a D13 director, was close friends with Mickey for almost 50 years. “Mickey always

called it as he saw it. You never had doubts about what he meant, and he was true to his word. He never lost touch with being a rank-and-file worker himself.

“He did everything he could to represent workers’ concerns and make their work life better. While he followed all the rules, he did it his way. And that was often with a touch of humor and wit.

“We will miss Mickey’s big heart, concern for others and ability to bring a smile to peoples’ faces,” Beevers said.

To express your remembrances of Mickey, click here to go to John Michael "Mickey" Breaux Obituary.

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