November 3, 2016
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – Michael Conigliaro, President of TWU Local 101, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 1st, at his home on Staten Island, at the age of 58.
The cause of death was an apparent heart attack. Members of his union and others expressed shock and sadness at the news.
TWU Local 101’s Executive Board on Wednesday elevated Vice President Constance Bradley to President as mandated by Local 101’s bylaws.
Said President Bradley, “There are no words to fully express my shock and sadness. Mike was not only a great president of Local 101 but also a very dear friend. I miss him terribly. We will do what strong unions do in tough times. We will lean on each other and share the burden, and remain committed to our principles and goals.” The Executive Board issued a statement: “While we all continue to grieve the sudden and tragic death of President Michael Conigliaro on Tuesday, the Executive Board is focused on both the day-to-day operations of the union and the major issues confronting the membership. We have heavy hearts but we stand on solid ground with many years of leadership experience, and we are committed to moving forward on behalf of our men and women in the field.”
TWU International President Harry Lombardo said,“Mike Conigliaro was a brother and an ally to every working person, every TWU member, and a close personal friend of mine. We are shocked and saddened by his passing, and hope we can honor his legacy by bringing his spirit and commitment to our work every day. Our thoughts go out to his wife, his children, and the large community he touched.”
Conigliaro was elected Local 101 President in September 2012, after serving almost 20 years as Vice President. He was also Recording Secretary for the union. Conigliaro led Local 101 through difficult times, including corporate takeovers of the Brooklyn Union Gas Co., first by the Keyspan Corporation in 1998 and then by National Grid in 2006. He worked to protect contracts and benefits, and under his leadership, membership grew from 1,200 to 1,600, and further growth is expected in 2017. The 5-year contract he negotiated with National Grid gave workers 13.5% raises and free dental.
After hearing the news, some grief-stricken workers at National Grid facilities in Brooklyn and Queens returned their trucks and left the facilities in order to mourn.
Other union leaders praised Conigliaro and promised to remember him.“Mike Conigliaro was a dedicated trade unionist, who fought tirelessly on behalf of the membership of TWU Local 101,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “His efforts over the years helped ensure that Local 101 members had the safety tools and standards necessary to keep them safe on the job, while also providing exceptional service to local communities. We will always remember Mike as a worker advocate, who did his part to help keep New York City burning bright.” Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, said,“Mike was a dedicated leader who was committed to his members,” He was a true professional and a great friend who will be deeply missed.”
Conigliaro was from a strong union family with ties to labor across the city and country. His brother James Conigliaro is Executive Vice President of the International Association of Machinists, while his brother Frank owns a top-to-bottom union printing company that services Local unions throughout the City. His nephew, Jimmy, is Vice President of the New York City Central Labor Council representing the Machinists.
Conigliaro is survived by his wife, Tina, three children, Michael Jr., Jacqueline, and Steve, four grandchildren, two sisters and six brothers.