Union leaders mourn passing of ATU International President Larry Hanley

STEPHON JOHNSON | 5/16/2019, 5:01 p.m.
The labor community is mourning the death of Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley.
President Larry Hanley

The labor community is mourning the death of Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley.

Hanley, who passed away last week at the age of 62, is survived by his wife, Thelma, his daughter Monica and his son Lawrence Jr. In a joint statement, Hanley’s family expressed sadness for the loss of their patriarch and discussed his love for the labor movement and its causes.

“He devoted his life to the union movement and to the Amalgamated Transit Union,” read the statement. “His fondest wish for the union now would be to continue your everyday efforts for the members, because they were always the ones on his mind. He shared his love of defending the defenseless with you in the hopes that the ATU would be a shining beacon in the labor movement, the country and the world.

“We wish to thank you for all of your hard work in your careers furthering these goals and wish you success as you continue in furtherance of them,” continued the statement. “As we go forward, the men and women of the ATU, and the labor movement will always be in our hearts.”

Hanley served as international president for ATU since 2010. The union’s been a part of the majority of his adult life. He joined the union as a bus driver in Brooklyn in 1978. He was 21-years-old at the time.

“Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to his family at this very difficult time,” stated International Executive Vice President Javier Perez. “This is an unfathomable and a tragic loss for the ATU and the entire labor movement.”

This past Tuesday, all locals and members paused for a moment of silence to remember Hanley as his funeral took place on Staten Island at the Our Lady of Pity Church at 1616 Richmond Ave. They’ll also be a memorial service for Hanley at ATU headquarters at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring, Md., June 24. It would’ve been Hanley’s 63rd birthday.

“Our 32BJ brothers and sisters are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of our brother Larry Hanley, who has for decades been a stalwart comrade in arms in labor and social struggles,” stated 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa. “We will sorely miss the righteous passion and clear-eyed thinking he brought to decades of attacks on working people, and his ability to bring together people across sectors necessary to bring about positive change. We offer our condolences to his loved ones and to his ATU family, and will carry his example forward to continue his work to make a better world for working families.”

During his career, Hanley oversaw David Dinkins’ mayoral campaign operation on Staten Island, served as ATU Local 726’s secretary-treasurer and became the youngest president in Local 726’s history.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka referred to Hanley as a “comrade” and said he did his peers proud. “From his first union meeting in Brooklyn, N.Y., to picket lines on Staten Island to contract fights around the country, his life was defined by activism,” stated Trumka. “Whether fighting in the trenches or guiding our movement on the AFL-CIO executive council, Larry committed every day he had to advancing the idea that regular people deserve a voice on the job. My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of our brothers and sisters at ATU.”