IAFF Mourns Loss of Former 8th District Vice President and Labor Leader

April 9 • 2020

The IAFF is saddened to report the death of former IAFF 8th District Vice President Daniel “Danny” Delegato on March 21 at the age of 94.  

The 8th District is as strong and robust as it is today because Brother Delegato tirelessly fought for collective bargaining rights, civil service and adequate training,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone who knew him well.” 

Delegato was a great leader, fire fighter and family man,” says 8th District Vice President Mark Sanders. “I will remember him as the kind of person who always put the needs of his fellow fire fighters, family and friends above his own. He will be missed.” 

Delegato spent his life giving to his country, first in the United States Navy and then as a Detroit fire fighter. 

During his 25 years as a fire fighter, he nearly lost his life at least twice. The first occurred when a streetcar’s brakes failed, causing the car to hit the fire truck Delegato was driving. Delegato was critically injured and spent almost one year recovering. The second happened during the 1968 Detroit riots when bullets hit the firetruck he was in. 

Always wanting to do more to help his fellow fire fighters, Delegato served in leadership positions at the local, state, district and International levels, including: Detroit Local 344 President (1958-1959), Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union 4th District Vice President (1960-1962), Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union President (1962-1972), IAFF 8th District Vice President (1968-1972), Director of Organization and Field Services at IAFF headquarters (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 the recipient of a scholarship to the Harvard Trade Union Program. In 1994, he was bestowed with the title of President Emeritus of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. 

Delegato is credited for organizing more than 50 fire departments in Michigan, as well as assisting the IAFF in organizing many fire fighters across the country.  

His relentless and tireless congressional lobbying efforts enhanced training programs, working conditions, bargaining rights and job benefits for fire fighters and other first responders. He was a driving force behind the writing, lobbying and passage of Public Act 369 (collective bargaining laws), Public Act 312 (binding arbitration law) and the Firefighters Training Council Act. Enhancements to Public Act 78 (police and firemen civil service system) were adopted during Delegato’s time in office. 

He is survived by his son, Joe, and daughters Judy, Nancy and Laura (Chris) Moore. The family will have a private burial followed by a memorial mass and celebration at a later date.