Former UTU International officers Daniel W. Collins and Paul J. McNamara have died.
Daniel W. Collins, age 90, who retired in 1992 as UTU assistant general secretary and treasurer, was a member of the 40-person committee that laid the groundwork for merger of the predecessor unions that formed the UTU in 1970. At the time he was general secretary and treasurer of the Switchmen’s Union of North America (SUNA), which came together in merger with the Order of Railway Conductors, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen.
A native of Olean, N.Y., Collins hired on as a brakeman with former New York Central Railroad (now part of CSX). He left the railroad twice – to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II and again during the Korean conflict — and later earned a degree in economics from Canisius College. He was first elected to a SUNA office in 1948 and as SUNA GS&T in 1955, and held the position of UTU assistant GS&T until his retirement in 1992.
During his UTU service, Collins was chairman of a joint labor management task force that sought to promote rail service in the face of trucking industry growth, and was appointed by former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste to the Ohio High-Speed Rail Commission.
He helped to establish the industry’s substance abuse prevention program and served on a labor-management advisory committee of the National Council of Alcoholism. He also helped to promote Operation Redblock on Amtrak.
Following his retirement, Collins was appointed to the Amtrak Board of Directors by President Clinton. He also served as a consultant to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he helped create a collection of railroad history and labor documents.
Friends recall an oft-repeated comment by Collins: “Come down from the bleachers and get into the game!”
Collins is survived by his wife of 69 years, Margaret, 10 children, 27 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Paul J. McNamara
Paul J. McNamara, age 97, and a native of Massachusetts, retired in 1980 as an International vice president. A 70-year UTU member, he completed the trade union program at Harvard University, and in 1975 earned the Cardinal Cushing Award for Excellence in Labor Management Relations.
McNamara is survived by his wife of 72 years, Doris, two daughters, seven grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
He was a New York Central Railroad employee, where he elected a general chairperson. McNamara stayed current on UTU activities well into his 90s. New England States Legislative Director George Casey said McNamara attended his 2008 legislative department reorganization meeting. In 2004, McNamara attended the UTU regional meeting in Boston where he engaged former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in a lively chat.