Publisher’s Note: Every December, LaborPress selects those in labor and business that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their trade and profession. This years’ recipients of the prestigious LaborPress Leadership Award are as follows: Mark Cannizzaro, president, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators [CSA]; James Slevin, national president, Utility Workers Union of America [UWUA]; Nicholas LaMorte, president, Civil Service Employees Association, Long Island Region [CSEA]; Mark Gregorio, president, TEI Group; and Matthew Chartrand, business manager/financial secretary-treasurer, Ironworkers Local 361.
Nicholas LaMorte is president of the Civil Service Employees Association [CSEA] Long Island Region. CSEA represents workers who provide essential public services to just about every community in Nassau and Suffolk, as well as many school districts and libraries there. The union has more than a quarter million members in New York State and
better than 50,000 on Long Island.
LaMorte’s career with the union began in 1971, when he was working as a custodian in the Farmingdale School district. His vacation time was reduced by one week due to a revision in the school district’s contract, and he took his complaint to the union and began attending meetings. He also got involved in organizing, bringing other workers to meetings. “I wasn’t too happy when I found out our vacation allowance was cut by a full week,” recalled LaMorte. “I didn’t think there was much I could do about it at first but then one of my colleagues suggested greater union involvement might provide some recourse.”
LaMorte negotiated his rst labor contract as chairman of the Farmingdale School District custodial unit negotiating committee and eventually became Nassau Educational Local 865 Vice President, representing workers in 26 school district. He was elected president of that local in the mid-eighties and served two terms.
In the late eighties, LaMorte was named chair of the Special Statewide School Committee, representing the interests of 35,000 school district employees. LaMorte ran for president of the Long Island Region a couple of years later but lost a close election race. He ran again in the next election cycle and this time was elected Long Island Region President. LaMorte has been re-elected several times since then and is currently in his seventh term.
LaMorte’s proudest achievement, just one among many, was being recognized by the women’s advocacy group, Women on the Job, for his pioneering work on equal pay for equal work.
He is currently running for the of office of President of CSEA in New York, in order to ensure that all the union members are well represented and well compensated for the important work they do. He modestly describes him- self as “a custodian from Farmingdale who fights hard to defend and advance the rights of ordinary working people.”
LaMorte and his wife Carolyn have four children and five grandchildren.