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Albert Brundage

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Albert Brundage Obituary
Albert Brundage

One of the nation's leading labor lawyers, passed away in San Francisco on March 18, 2014, at the age of ninety-eight.  Born in San Francisco to Harry and Luba Brundage on December 21, 1915, Al originally pursued a musical career, playing clarinet and saxophone in Bay Area and Lake Tahoe swing bands. A graduate of Tamalpais High School and UC Berkeley, he did graduate work in economics before going on to study law at Boalt Hall, passing the California Bar in 1947. By that time he was highly oriented towards the labor movement, having already worked for the Pacific Coast Labor Bureau, which provided economic and legal counsel to labor unions, and for the War Mediation Board in Chicago.

Al joined the noted San Francisco law firm of Tobriner and Lazarus and, after becoming a partner, moved to Los Angeles to open its Southern California office. Later he founded the firm of Brundage, Neyhart, Miller, Reich & Pappy, which became the largest labor law firm in the west, representing most of the Southern California building trades unions, along with the Western Conference of Teamsters and Actors Equity. Returning to his hometown of San Francisco in the late 1970s, he represented Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters from that time until his retirement (at age ninety-seven) in 2013.  Over the course of his long career, he participated in many notable labor events, including negotiations with labor leaders Jimmy Hoffa, Harry Bridges, and Cesar Chavez. For a time in the 1970s, he taught courses in labor law at the University of San Francisco.

Active in Democratic Party politics and liberal causes for much of his life, Al was one of the founders of the California Democratic Club movement, which played a key role in the election of Edmund G. (Pat) Brown as governor in 1958. He later supported the anti-war presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy and was part of the California delegation to the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Al was a lover of opera, symphonic music, and jazz and he played music himself (clarinet, violin, and piano) for much of his life.

Al was preceded in death by his first wife, Kathryn Thomas Brundage, and his sister, Lillian Brundage Moose. He is survived by his wife, Frances Bak, two children, David Brundage (Susan Stuart) and Deborah Richardi, and two grandsons, Jonah Stuart Brundage and Philip Richardi. The family requests that donations be made to the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 13, 2014
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