Daniel “Danny” Delegato spent over 40 years serving Firefighters and improving the working conditions for organized labor. He hails from a devoted “union family” spanning 3 generations of family members in rank and file of 7 different labor unions, total 84 years of active union membership.
Delegato held various union firefighter titles at local and state levels, before being appointed to serve at the international level in Washington D.C. Delegato served as President of the Detroit Firefighters Union (1958-1959); Fourth District Vice-President (1962-72); Eight District Vice President-International Association of Firefighters, IAFF (1972-1988). He was appointed to the Wayne County Central Labor Council, Executive Board of the Michigan AFL-CIO, and in 1967 was honored as recipient of a scholarship to the Harvard Trade Union Program, which included labor leaders throughout the world.
Delegato is credited for organizing over 50 fire departments in Michigan, as well as assisting the IAFF in organizing many firefighters across the country. His relentless and tireless congressional lobbying efforts enhanced training programs, working conditions, bargaining rights, and job benefits for firefighters and other first respondents. He was a driving force behind writing, lobbying, and passage of Public Act 369 (collective bargaining laws) Public Act 312 (Binding arbitration law), the Firefighters Training Council Act, and enhancements to Public Act 78 (police and firemen civil service system) were adopted during Delegato’s time in office.
In addition to being a career union official, Delegato was simultaneously, an active firefighter in Detroit for 25 years responding to countless fires and other emergencies. Delegato’s first assignment as a rookie Detroit Firefighter was to climb down into the steeple at Old Saint Mary’s Church in downtown Detroit to inspect for a potential fire. He nearly lost his life when the brakes failed on an oncoming streetcar, causing the streetcar to hit the fire truck he was driving, critically injuring Delegato. He spent nearly one year recovering from his injuries before returning to active duty. Miraculously, Delegato narrowly escaped death again, when bullets hit the door of the fire truck he was driving during the 1968 riots in Detroit.
Before becoming a Detroit Firefighter, Delegato was a gifted athlete playing high school basketball and baseball while attending Eastern High School in Detroit. He was drafted by the New York Giants baseball team, but duty called and he signed on to serve in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines as a Medical Corpsman serving in Japan and China. Delegato’s father and mother, hailing from Montreal Canada, and Edinburgh, Scotland, respectively, were proud parents when they hung a fourth “Blue Star” in the window of their home when Delegator left to join his 3 brothers actively serving their country.
Delegato enjoyed sports and was an active fisherman and hunter. He enjoyed landscaping and spending time with his friends and family. He is survived by his son Joe, daughters, Judy, Nancy, Laura (Chris) Moore. The family will have a private burial followed by a memorial mass and celebration at a later date.