Source: US Amalgamated Transit Union
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Lawrence “Larry” Hanley was known around New York as a champion of workers rights who would do anything to support working families.
In May, the former Bulls Head resident passed away in Odenton, Md., where he lived since 2010.
Friday afternoon, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Hanley’s family, local officials, and Mayor Bill de Blasio came together to rename Yukon Ave in New Springville to “Larry Hanley Way.”
Hosted by Council Member Joseph Borelli, approximately 75 people gathered on the corner of Forest Hill Ave and Yukon Ave, next to the MTA Bus Depot.
Borelli, ATU International President John Costa, ATU Local 726 President Daniel Cassella, and other elected officials spoke to Hanley’s contributions to the community and passion for what he did.
De Blasio, who said he met Hanley in 1989 and become a good friend of his, explained the Hanley’s outgoing, get-things-done character.
“You could not defeat Larry Hanley. He might have a setback, he might not win that round, but you could not defeat Larry Hanley,” the mayor explained. “He had the purest, strongest belief in the goodness of working people, in the power of the union, in what could be if we all worked together. He loved Staten Island, and he worked for what he believed would be good for Staten Island and it’s future. What I saw was a guy that just would not stop.”
Everyone who knew Hanley was “blessed,” de Blasio explained.
“If you really knew Larry Hanley, you became a better person because you knew Larry Hanley,” he said. “You gained a little more hope, you saw a little farther into the future, you saw a power where many people didn’t realize it was there before. If you really knew Larry Hanley, you are, in some really meaningful way, made stronger and better because he was in your life. I was so honored to have known him.”
Hanley’s daughter, Monica, spoke to her father’s way of making things happen, even if he had to participate in “immature antics” to get recognized.
Hanley told a story about her father’s first role as secretary-treasurer of ATU 726, where he single-handedly created grievances for “every single oil slick and every single broken lightbulb” in a small depot in Clifton after being brushed aside by other members of the board.
He filed the most grievances for all depots combined in all of the boroughs while working there, she explained.
“If my father were here to tell that story to me today, I would interpret it as such: Whether people don’t recognize or acknowledge your own power, or they are intentional undermining it to protect their own, do not let them chip away at your self-esteem, prevent you from making your contributions, or stop you from your mission, because we have big things to do,” Monica explained, tearing up.
The Hanley Family, Borelli, Costa, and de Blasio unveiled the new street sign together.
ABOUT LARRY HANLEY
Larry Hanley started his career as a bus driver at the age of 21 in Brooklyn, N.Y. After transferring to Staten Island a year later, he quickly became involved in ATU Local 726, the local branch of the international union.
He became heavily involved in the ATU, working his way up the ranks to become the youngest elected president in his local ATU’s history. He was re-elected for five terms before joining the staff of the international board as vice president.
In September 2010, he was selected as International President of the ATU. He was re-elected for two more terms in 2013 and 2016.
As international president, he restructured the ATU to better protect the livelihoods of transit workers across 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and nine Canadian provinces.
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