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.

New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca passed away Feb. 14 at age 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. 

N.Y. Governor Kathy Hochul

The two-person crew bills introduced in New York state, Assembly Bill 1287B and Senate Bill 3953B, have passed both chambers of the state Legislature as of Tuesday, May 31. Both bills have been combined into Senate Bill 3953 and are now headed to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for signing.

The SMART-TD New York State Legislative Board urges all SMART members in the state to contact Governor Hochul and tell her to sign the two-person crew bill – Senate Bill 3953 — into law.

“We need our members to contact the governor’s office, urging her to sign the bill so we can wrap this effort up,” TD N.Y. State Legislative Director Sam Nasca said. “This is a big accomplishment, and a lot of effort went into this by a lot of members and others, which I want to offer my deepest thanks.”

Follow this link to contact Gov. Hochul, call her at 1-518-474-8390 or write to:

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Recently, employees of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway and Brega Transportation both voted for SMART TD representation.

Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway, LLC

Carmen, train and engine service, locomotive mechanics and maintenance of way personnel of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway (BRG) all voted for SMART TD representation June 13. On June 14, 2017 The National Mediation Board certified that SMART has been duly designated and authorized to represent the carmen, train and engine service, locomotive mechanics and maintenance of way employees of Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway.
“The employees faced many hurdles and constant pressure from the company to vote against organizing,” SMART TD Director of Organizing Rich Ross said. “They are a tight knit group that deserves the benefits that union membership can bring them.”
BRG operates 45 miles of line at the Port of Brownsville, Texas, and interchanges with Union Pacific and KCSM. BRG traffic includes steel, agricultural products, food products and general commodities.
The BRG commenced operations in 1984 when the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) reclaimed Port railroad operations from the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The BND, which manages the Port of Brownsville, entered a 30-year agreement with OmniTRAX to operate and expand the business development capabilities of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway on its behalf in June of 2014.
“I would like to thank SMART TD Organizer Larry Grutzius for all of his hard work on this campaign,” Ross said.

Brega Transportation

Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant reports that 120 bus operators and bus aides employed by Brega Transportation voted for SMART TD representation June 16.
“I would like to thank SMART TD Director of Organizing Rich Ross for providing the necessary resources to make this a successful campaign. I would also like to thank New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca and GCA VCN General Chairperson Thomas Bruce for their tireless effort in seeing this to fruition,” Studivant said.
“There was a lot of pushback from the carrier, but SMART TD stayed on message and that effort reflected in the voting. We are looking forward to securing our new bus members a far and equitable collective bargaining agreement,” Studivant added.
Brega Transport’s Yellow Bus division provides professional school bus service throughout Rockland County, N.Y.

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — Members of UTU Local 153 here, employed as school bus drivers by Chestnut Ridge Transportation, have ratified a three-year wage, benefits and work rules agreement.

The agreement provides the drivers with wage increases retroactive to Sept. 1, 2010, improvements in personal leave-day policy, training pay, and bereavement leave. UTU negotiators blocked attempts by the carrier for concessions.

UTU International Vice President Rich Deiser, who assisted in negotiations, praised the efforts of Local 153 negotiators, who included General Chairperson Wilner Baptiste, President Frantz Fils-aime, Vice President Canez Francois, Treasurer Barbara McIntosh and Secretary Wilfred Hatch.

New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca also assisted with negotiations.