Thomas J. Cleary was born in Belle Harbor, New York. He attended St. Francis De Sales Elementary School and Monsignor McClancy High School, graduating in 1985.
Tom was initiated into Local 3 in November of 1986 becoming a member of the Supply Division while working for City Electric prior to entering the apprenticeship program in 1988 and receiving his “A” Journeyman card on October 13, 1994. Tom attended the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies where he earned an Associate Degree in 1992. In 2012, Tom returned to Empire State College earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Labor Studies. He is a member of the Catholic Council of Electrical Workers, the Allied Union Club of Queens and the Westchester Mechanics Association.
As a member of Local 3, Tom has worked mainly in a supervisory position as a subforeman and foreman on both electrical and tele-data installation. He has advanced his studies in the electrical field through attending many classes given through the Educational and Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical Industry and has received two certificates for attending the 64th and 65th International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plan Conferences.
Tom’s family has a long history of being leaders of Local 3. His grandfather Edward Cleary was an original member of the Committee of 100 under Harry Van Arsdale. Edward later became the Chairman of the Wage and Policy Committee, the first Chairman of the Election Board and the first President of the Colony Club in 1932. His Uncle Edward J. Cleary served as President of the Allied Club of Queens in 1956 before being elected to the Examining Board of Local 3. Ed went on to become the President of Local 3 from 1964 to 1975 and later becoming the President of the NYS AFL-CIO. Tom’s father was a very active member serving on the Election Board for many years. Their brother John was a member with the Allied Club of Queens later becoming a superintendent. This is a family that holds the true values of Local 3 close to their hearts and understands one of Harry Van Arsdale Jr.’s favorite sayings: “Eternal Vigilance is the price of good unionism.”
Tom began his work within Local 3 by becoming involved with the Affiliated Clubs, as well as working on the Election Committee, the Labor Day Parade Committee and later being elected to the Wage and Policy Committee. Tom served as President of the Allied Club’s Scholarship Fund from 2001 through 2005 and served as the Allied Club’s president from 2005 to 2007. On April 9, 2007, upon the recommendation of Business Manager Christopher Erikson, the Executive Board elected Tom to fill the unexpired term of Business Representative Elliot Hecht. He served as an Executive Board member until July 27, 2009, when he was elected by the Executive Board to serve as the Recording Secretary of Local 3, the position which he held until November 25, 2019. Tom held the positions of Secretary for the IBEW Disaster Fund, a Director of the Electrical Workers Death Benefit Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Memorial Association, the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus and the Joint Industry Board Oversight Committee. On October 15, 2018, Business Manager Erikson appointed Tom to the position of Business Representative.
Tom has represented the members of Local 3 as a Delegate to the IBEW Safety Caucus, the IBEW 3rd District Progress Meetings from 2007 through 2019, the NYS AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention and the 38th and 39th IBEW Constitutional Conventions. He was recognized as “Man of the Year” for his work on behalf of the members of Local 3 by the Bedsole Kingsboro Club, the Catholic Council of Electrical Workers, the Asian American Cultural Society and the Allied Union Club of Queens.
Tom is married to his wife Maureen for 23 years. They have three children: Thomas, Lauren and Matthew.