By ALFREDO ALVARADO
Louis G. Albano, who started his civil service career as a Junior Electrical Engineer and rose through the ranks to become the president of Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375, passed away on April 26 in Red Bank, N.J. He was 87.
The Brooklyn native, who studied engineering at New York City Technical College where he earned an associate degree, left his mark as a union organizer and advocate for workers during his term as local president from 1981-1998.
As a student at Charles Evans Hughes High School he studied commercial and advertising art. He put those skills to good use to design placards and leaflets to reach out to union members at the New York City Transit Authority.
He left the NYCTA in 1966 to work at the Personnel Dept., where he prepared examinations for transit professionals. While later working at the Board of Education as an electrical engineer, he stepped up his union activism and became a delegate, a shop steward and president of Chapter 14.
Albano became president of the local in 1981, and he served in that position for 17 years.. He fought the city’s effort to hire private consultants and contractors who were wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. He also fought to protect the rights of whistle-blowers and lobbied for the creation of a team of well-trained architects and engineers to rebuild the city’s crumbling infrastructure.
Under his leadership, the local had two major legislative victories, a law that outlined agency guidelines on consulting contracts of over $50,000 and legislation that guaranteed at least 40 percent of design work at the School Construction Authority be done by union members.
He was a strong opponent of privatization and fought to uphold the civil service system. He served as director of the Civil Service Merit Council.
After retired, he remained active in the union, serving as a vice president of the DC 37 Retirees Association. He was a consultant to the Organization of Staff Analysts. During his retirement he kept busy writing articles and editorials about the challenges facing the labor movement in what’s perhaps the most anti-union period in U.S. history.
The day before he died Albano received the Lifetime Labor Leadership Award from the Civil Service Merit Council.
Brad Smith, who was the local’s vice president during Albano’s term, received the award on his behalf. “He fought to make sure everyone was treated fairly,” said Smith.
Albano is survived by his partner of 35 years Norah Chase, Josephine Albano, his first wife, their two daughters Janet Albano Spinardi and Carolyn Albano and his grandson Charles Louis Spinardi.
The Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 6, 7-9 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home, 2005 West 6th Street, in Brooklyn. Committal will take place on Monday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m. in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York. Please gather at the funeral home on Monday morning by 9:30 a.m. for prayers and reflection.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following charities: The Obama Foundation, Planned Parenthood, the Tamiment/Wagner Archives at NYU, Sierra Club, the American Heart Association and the Amyloidosis Foundation.