'Father of CU Pension Plan' passes away at 84


Ralph Petrucelli, known as The Father of the Pension Plan at Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, died Thursday, after a lengthy illness. He was 84.

Petrucelli, who became a member of the Newspaper Guild of New York in 1965, was chairperson of the CU Unit from 1974 to 1986 and again from 1988 to 1996 and was a member of the Local Executive Committee until his retirement in 2001.

“Ralph was a reserved, soft-spoken, but extremely effective leader of the Guild at CU,” said NY Guild President Bill O’Meara. “He, as much as anyone I’ve known, carried out Teddy Roosevelt’s advice of speaking softly but carrying a big stick.”

“He was one of my heroes,” Bill South, the current Unit Chair at CU observed. “He was a father-figure to me. As an employee at CU, Ralph was a loyal an honored employee. As a labor leader, he gained management’s trust and respect.”

During his first term as Unit Chairperson, Petrucelli was instrumental in the negotiation of the Guild/CU Defined Benefit Pension Plan that still exists today and veteran employees at CU have dubbed him the “father” of the plan. He served for more than 25 years on the Local Executive Committee and, at one point when there was a vacancy in the secretary-treasurer’s position at the Local, he served in the interim until a replacement was elected. He also served on the committee that negotiated the sale of the former Guild headquarters on 44th street in Manhattan.

Petrucelli, a resident of Port Chester, N.Y. at the time of his death, began his career as an engineer for the Homelite Co., a division of Textron Inc. in Byram, Ct. At CU, he was a special project engineer.

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