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Eric Feaver, Helena city commissioner and former labor leader, has died

Eric Feaver
Eric Feaver, Montana labor leader and Helena city commissioner
Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 21:16:17-04

HELENA — Eric Feaver, one of Montana’s most prominent labor leaders and a Helena city commissioner, has died.

A spokesperson for the Montana Federation of Public Employees, which Feaver formerly led as president, confirmed the news Thursday.

Feaver, who spent decades at the helm of Montana’s teacher’s union, was a prominent advocate for public education and public institutions. He and his union played significant roles in battles over state funding for schools, tax policy, teaching standards, and school accreditation.

Governor Greg Gianforte issued a statement about Feaver's passing: "Eric Feaver was a committed public servant and veteran, who served as a city commissioner in Helena, an educator, and a strong advocate for state employees for decades. The state and city of Helena will miss his unmistakable voice. Susan and I are praying for his wife Ellen, his family, and his friends and colleagues.”

Feaver grew up in Oklahoma. After serving as an Army medic during the Vietnam War, he came to Montana in 1974. He started work as a history and English teacher in Helena, and quickly became involved in his labor union.

In 1984, he became president of the Montana Education Association. He led the union through 36 years and two mergers. When he stepped down in 2020, MFPE was the state’s largest union, representing 23,000 members – not only public school teachers, but many other public employees, including university faculty, state correctional officers, and law enforcement.

In November 2021, Feaver was elected to a seat on the Helena City Commission, saying he was ready to turn his energy to serving his local community and working on issues such as affordable housing.

The cause of Feaver's death has not been released at this point. We will update you if we get more information.