James “Larry” Foy passed away earlier this week. (His memorial service is scheduled for tomorrow in Southwick, Massachusetts.)
For those of us in Connecticut that were blessed with having had a case with him as an arbitrator or mediator — and there were many — his death will leave a substantial void.
Indeed, Larry was a labor arbitrator and mediator for so long that it’s hard to realize there was a time he wasn’t a fixture in Connecticut.
Here’s the telling statistic from his obituary:
Since 1979 Larry has privately arbitrated over 2,000 grievance arbitrations in the public and private sectors throughout New England. He has arbitrated over 400 municipal, teacher and state employee interest arbitration disputes. Larry has mediated over 1,000 collective bargaining contract negotiations between boards of education and bargaining units of certified teachers and/or administrators. – See more at:
So what happened in the year prior to 1979? Well, one of my partners kept documentation that. And so, with the permission of Brian Clemow, we thought we’d relay a letter that Brian wrote about Larry way back in 1978.
Back then — when gas was just 63 cents a gallon and the Bee Gees were over the airwaves — Brian wrote a recommendation letter to the American Arbitration Association on behalf of Larry. While he noted that as a representative of management, “Larry does not always view things in the same light as I view them”, he suspected that union representatives would say the same thing.
Brian suggested that Larry would have a “high level of acceptability as an arbitrator in the eyes of both labor & management.”
Decades later, that prediction came to fruition time and again. Larry became one of the area’s most well-regarded arbitrators. I have no doubt that I speak for my colleagues and those around the state in saying that Larry will be sorely sorely missed.