Michael Siano, a former New Jersey Transit bus driver who became the international vice president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, died on May 3. He was 84.
The son of immigrants, Siano grew up in Union City, was an all-state football player in high school, and played football at The Citadel.
Siano began his career as a union leader as the shop steward for ATU Local 821 in 1962 and = became president of his local in 1972. He was elected international vice president in 1981 and was re-elected seven times.
He moved to Washington, DC in 1992 after getting elected ATU international executive vice president and general board member.
According to his family, the closing line of every contract he negotiated included language that work rule changes must “favor the union.”
“Mike Siano was a mentor and close friend. I admired him for his toughness and his dedication to fight for a better life for our members,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Mike was a fearless negotiator who took on the biggest battles and had a lifelong commitment to civil rights. Devoting more than 50 years to the ATU, Mike was a beloved leader and friend to all ATU members.”
ATU New Jersey State Council Chair Ray Greaves, who now serves as his union’s International Vice President, credited Siano for paving the way for others who followed in his footsteps.
After his retirement from the ATU in 2009, Siano split his time between his homes in Carteret and Lauderdale.
Siano is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy, his children and grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.