Marc Kagan

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Marc Kagan is the brother of Elena Kagan

Labor Activism

After attending two of the nation’s most exalted educational institutions, the Dalton School and Yale, Marc Kagan appeared to purposefully descend the class ladder.

In 1984, he became a mechanic at the 207th Street subway yard in Upper Manhattan, operating a forklift, among other responsibilities. “We did not know he was a Yale graduate,” said Joe Fernandez, a former co-worker who still works at the yard. “He was very low key.”

Marc Kagan’s union involvement grew during the 1990s, and he joined a movement called New Directions that was challenging the leadership of the Transport Workers Union local. When one of its leaders, Roger Toussaint, was elected union president in 2000, Mr. Kagan became his special assistant, or chief of staff.

But Mr. Kagan, age 53 in 2010, had misgivings about the 2002 contract that he had helped negotiate, said Alan Saly, director of publications for the local, and he let some of his former co-workers know it. Among other issues, he objected to the fact that the contract relied on a bonus of $1,000 in the third year, rather than a raise, so it would not count toward workers’ pensions or future salary increases.

Mr. Kagan was fired from the union, as were several associates. “Roger didn’t like dissent,” said Mr. Saly, who was later forced out himself by Mr. Toussaint, only to return. “His opinion was that a deal is a deal and you should get behind it.”

Mr. Toussaint, who now works for the national transit workers’ union, denied that Mr. Kagan’s departure was related to “issues or differences around the contract,” but he would not elaborate, citing the family’s privacy. Mr. Kagan, who had married his Yale sweetheart, LeeAnn Graham, and has two children, became a teacher, working at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Harlem before moving to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science.[1]



  1. [] The Kagan Family: Left-Leaning and Outspoken, By LISA W. FODERARO and CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY, NY Times, June 17, 2010