James P. Nolan, prexy emeritus of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees & Technicians, died Wednesday in New York University Hospital after a brief illness. He was 65.
Nolan, whose union recently merged with the Communications Workers of America , retired as prexy of the broadcast guild in October after 35 years of service. His replacement, NABET-CWA prexy John Clark, called the death a great loss to the union.
“His knowledge and long experience in both the history and workings of our union and the broadcasting industry were resources that can never be replaced,” he said. “Jim lived and breathed NABET, and devoted his life to improving the lives of NABET members and their families.”
A driving force in NABET’s history and shaping its destiny, Nolan was a key figure throughout the years in contract negotiations with NBC and ABC.
He was instrumental in the merging of NABET and the CWA, making their combined membership more than 500,000. Nolan reportedly confided to his close friends that he viewed the merger as his legacy.
Nolan first joined the union in 1958 as an electronics maintenance engineer in New York. He quickly jumped into the political structure, serving as a delegate to NABET conventions in the mid-1960s.
He was elected prexy of New York Local 16 in 1967, a post he did not relinquish until 1989.
Nolan was a member of NABET’s governing body — the International Executive Council — after being first elected veepee of region 10 in 1970 and later international veepee in 1978. He took over the office of international prexy in 1986 when prexy Edward M. Lynch resigned. Nolan was re-elected later that year and then again in 1990.
Nolan is survived by his wife, Frances, two sons, three daughters, three sisters, a brother and nine grandchildren.