Sam Nasca, the dean of active SMART Transportation Division state legislative directors, who led union efforts for at least 32 years in the state of New York, passed away on Feb. 14, 2024, at the age of 90.
Brother Nasca first joined the union in 1959 and was in his 64th year as an active member of our organization. He hired out as a trainman and worked for the Erie, Erie Lackawanna and Conrail railroads. He was the last active SMART-TD officer who had been a member of the union prior to the merger that created the United Transportation Union (UTU) in 1968.
“Brother Nasca was a reliable and trusted leader since well before some current national officers had even hired on,” National Legislative Director Gregory Hynes said. “He had a major effect on the progress our union has made in New York.”
SLD Nasca’s noteworthy longevity resulted in him being a well-respected advocate for labor in the state capital of Albany and in his hometown. In December 2023, Nasca was honored for his nearly three decades of leadership with the Hornell City Democrats in the town where he lived.
Three days later, on Dec. 8, 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a two-person crew bill, fulfilling a long-term goal of the union in the Empire State and making New York the third state that year to pass and put into law a two-person crew provision.
Having had the opportunity to sign similar legislation a year earlier, Nasca and his SLB’s persuasive effort toward Hochul undoubtedly had an influence in making the 2PC bill into law the second time around.
“You do not accomplish things legislatively by giving in after a single setback,” Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity said. “He and the New York State Legislative Board took Gov. Hochul’s failure to sign in 2022 to heart and got the bill signed the year following.”
As a sign of respect, Nasca was among the final people to be named to the SMART-TD Executive Board at the 2019 TD Convention in Las Vegas prior to that body’s dissolution. He also took part in multiple negotiations during his long, distinguished career on the bus and rail properties in his state to achieve just contracts for workers.
He had also contributed to the union’s political efforts from the first day as a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen. He remained a contributor to TD PAC until his death.
Brother Nasca served in the United States Air Force from 1952-1957, based primarily in Texas and Germany, and received a Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
He is survived by two daughters and two sons; eight grandchildren and a great-grandson. He is also survived by two brothers; several nieces and nephews; and his companion, Judy Masti.
Calling hours are 1-4 p.m. Feb. 25, 2024, at the Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home, 285 Main Street, Hornell, N.Y. Relatives and friends are invited to join his family at St. Ann’s Church, 31 Erie Avenue, Hornell where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2024.
The SMART Transportation Division offers its heartfelt condolences to SLD Nasca’s family, friends the New York SLB and our membership in the Empire State. Brother Nasca’s life and legacy as a labor advocate serves as an example of unyielding commitment to the cause of the worker that we all can learn from and use as an inspiration.