Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 819 President Tiran Billups of Essex County has died, InsiderNJ has learned.
His cause of death was complications arising from the coronavirus.
Leader of the biggest ATU local in the state with over 2,000 members, Newark and Irvington-based, Mr. Billups was running around in the early stages of the virus in New Jersey, trying to protect his members.
He spent around 60 days in the hospital fighting for his life.
“Tiran was a fighter who left a legacy of fighting not only for workers’ rights but for civil rights,” said ATU International Vice President Ray Greaves. “He always gave all he could to better the lives of his members and workers. He would never back down from a fight for them.”
Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-34), a labor brother of Mr. Billups’ with Local 68 Operating Engineers, described his friend as a strong ally in the cause of organized labor.
“He moved up the union ladder through hard work,” Giblin told InsiderNJ. “I had a great deal of respect for Tiran and his commitment to the labor movement. I would see him at every labor day parade, and at scholarship events. He was always there, and always positive. I’m very sorry to learn of his passing. He was a true labor leader and he will be missed.”
Family members described as inseparable the bond he shared with his wife, who survives him.