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Obituary - Michael C. Axelrod

Axelrod, Prominent Labor Attorney, Dies

Roslyn resident Michael C. Axelrod, a prominent labor law attorney and partner at the Long Island law firm of Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP who represented numerous public sector labor unions in the New York metropolitan area including the New York City Firefighters and police and correction labor organizations on Long Island and in New York City, died on Jan. 7 in Roslyn. He was 63.

The cause of death was cancer, his family said. Axelrod battled the disease for two years with dignity and strength. He went to work and never complained. Axelrod was a partner at Certilman Balin for 15 years.

Well-loved and respected by his colleagues and clients for his legal expertise, fun-loving personality and charming ways, “Mikey” as he was often called, led the Labor Relations Law Group at Certilman Balin. Axelrod concentrated his practice in the areas of labor relations, discrimination law, municipal law and government relations. Over his career, which spanned four decades, he was primarily engaged in representing public sector unions and negotiated numerous contracts on their behalf. In addition, he was honored as “Law Enforcement Man of the Year” by the Nassau Police Conference and the Nassau County Detectives Association. Most recently, the New York Association of PBAs, Inc., an organization comprising more than 50 member units representing more than 40,000 police officers in New York State, honored Axelrod with the Floyd Holloway Award.

Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, delivered a statement on Axelrod’s passing.  

“On behalf of the Executive Board of the Uniformed Firefighters Association and New York City Firefighters, we mourn the loss of our good friend and longtime labor counsel Michael Axelrod.  This is a sad day for the UFA, as Mike served as the UFA’s labor counsel since 1996 and was a great asset to the union and its executive board.

“Mike went through a long, difficult battle with cancer yet up until the very end always preferred talking about improving safety and staffing levels for the firefighters he represented for so much of his life.  Mike was smart, dedicated and loyal and he loved representing New York’s Bravest.

“If Mike Axelrod believed in a cause he would never stop battling for you and he took that very same attitude into his fight with cancer.  He will be incredibly and sorely missed.”

Axelrod served as a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention and was appointed and served 12 years as the New York Commissioner on the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. A former president of the Jewish Lawyers Association, Mr. Axelrod also served on the Board of Directors of the Nassau Center for the Developmentally Disabled, Temple Beth Sholom, and on the Board of the New York Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, which was very close to his heart. He also had been an Arbitrator for the New York State Employment Relations Board since 1996.

Axelrod was born on December 26, 1947, and he resided in Roslyn, New York. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1970 and went on to earn his master’ degree in Labor Law from New York University in 1981 and his Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law in 1973. He was admitted to practice in the state of New York; U.S. District Court; the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Tax Court; and Florida.

He is survived by his wife Jane, his two daughters, Elizabeth Ann (Liz) and Kathryn (Katie), his son-in-law Dr. Benjamin Michael Brucker, and his granddaughter Olivia.

Services were conducted on Sunday, Jan. 9 at Temple Beth Sholom.