Remembering Our Friend and Colleague John Remark

Posted January 2022

Our friend and colleague for many years, John Remark, passed away on January 1, 2022. He had been elected and re-elected for 22 years to serve as the Financial Secretary of ATU Local 85 in Pittsburgh. After that, he spent another two decades representing the ATU International in helping dozens of Locals develop much needed quality training and apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania and around the entire country.  


Johnny worked very closely with the team at the International Transportation Learning Center in outreach to dozens of transit systems represented by ATU. He facilitated development of effective training programs in locations where none had existed, and he helped upgrade and expand training that existed to some degree but need substantial upgrading. He also helped ITLC and transit systems and unions in building national labor-management partnerships for training standards and frameworks for apprenticeship that were completely new. 


John Remark was a reliable friend and a perfect gentleman. He generously mentored many union members as they became training advocates and helped design and implement new high quality training programs.


Many in ITLC’s training network knew and respected Johnny. Here are a few of their observations about him:

  • John was very helpful and supportive of me in my work with Pennsylvania’s Keystone Development Partnership and our local ATU in Pittsburgh. I really appreciate all that he did for ATU union members throughout the country.
  • He always had respect for the members and leaders he worked with and it made my work so much easier. He was a gem of a human being. 
  • John had an infectious laugh, he always made you feel welcomed.
  • John was a great mentor for us at the Keystone Development Partnership and a kind soul . . . If it wasn’t for John and a couple of others, then I don’t think there would have been a KDP.
  • I’ve had the honor and pleasure of knowing John since 1981. He was a hell of a guy who impacted many across the country.
  • I’m not sure the Center and the Keystone Transit Career Ladder Partnership would have made it in Western PA without Johnny. He knew everybody and was respected by all.  
  • I was sad to hear about his passing but I will remember John as such a nice and welcoming spirit.
  • John was the kindest person I’ve ever met but so fiery and unyielding when it came to fighting for labor’s voice. He’s dearly missed.

ATU International President John Costa said this about John Remark:


“John Remark was a dedicated leader for ATU Local 85 in Pittsburgh, PA who fought for better wages, improved working conditions, strong health care, and pension benefits for thousands of our members. At the International, John also played an important role in developing workforce training and apprenticeship programs at our Locals to ensure our members were prepared to deal with the changing technology in our industry and advance their careers. We send our condolences to John’s family, friends, and our brothers and sisters at Local 85.”

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