This is your source of information on
the activities of the New York Labor History Association, dedicated to making
the history of workers, their organizations, and their struggles in New York
State a vital and ever-present part of our culture.
Check this site regularly for labor
history news, announcements of events, and sources for researching New York
State's labor history.
May is Labor History Month! Download the 2013
Labor History Calendar
The New York Labor History Association awarded
the 2012 Barbara Wertheimer Prize for the best essay by an undergraduate student on a topic in labor
or work history to Ryan Tate of Hamline University. His essay is entitled "A House Divided: Women's
Activism in the Minnesota Labor Movement, 1900-1935." For an abstract of this essay, follow the
The New York Labor History Association also awarded the first Bernard Bellush Prize for the best essay
by a graduate student on a topic in labor or work history to William S. Cossen of Pennsylvania State
University. His essay is entitled "The Rise and Decline of a Catholic Labor School: Hartford's Diocesan
Labor Institute and the Education of the American Worker." For an abstract of this essay, follow the
The New York Labor History Association will
present a forum on Epoch-making strikes in the U.S. -- 1980s and 1990s. It will be held on Thursday,
October 25, 2012, at 6 PM, at District Council 1707, 420 West 45th Street (between 9th and 10th
Avenues), Manhattan. The speakers will be Joseph McCartin, Ray Rogers and Chris Rhomberg.
Moderators will be Nell Geiser and Faron McLurkin. The event was planned by Jane LaTour of our
Executive Board. For further information, follow the
The New York Labor History Association held its 26th annual John Commerford Labor Education Award Reception on Friday,
The honorees were Peter Yarrow, artist and activist, and Jane LaTour, labor journalist and author.
Peter Yarrow is best known as a member of the folk music trio of Peter, Paul and Mary. However, he
also has been an activist for many social causes. For the past ten years, his primary focus has been
Operation Respect, which aims to free children while in school from the negative effects of bullying,
ridicule and violence. Jane LaTour has a long career in the labor movement, including her present post
as Associate Editor of DC 37's Public Employee Press. She has devoted many years to a study of
women who pioneered in blue collar trades, which culminated in a book, Sisters in the Brotherhoods:
Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City (2008).
For a fuller account of this highly successful event, follow the
link to an account reprinted from Collective Endeavor, the publication of
the Women's Press Collective.
The Kheel Center of the Martin P. Catherwood
Library, ILR School, Cornell University, has recently launched a website dedicated to the history of the
ILGWU. Information contained on the site includes digitized material such as banners and broadsides,
oral histories, pamphlets, photographs and videos. The finding aids for the ILGWU records, as well as
collection guides and a selective bibliography are available at the site as well.
In 2005, Robert Parmet, a member of the
Executive Board of the New York Labor History Association, published the first full length scholarly
study of David Dubinsky. That book, The Master of Seventh Avenue: David Dubinsky and the
American Labor Movement, will be reissued this year in paperback by NYU Press.
American Labor Museum Plans 1913 Paterson
Silk Strike Centennial.
The American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark is planning a year-long series of events
for 2013 to commemorate the centennial of the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike. Events for 2013 include a
year-long strike exhibit, a teachers's workshop, historical bus tour, May Day Festival and Labor Day
Parade. The museum is located at 83 Norwood Street in Haledon, New Jersey . For further
information, please visit the museum's website,
www.labormuseum.net contact the Museum at
(973) 595-7953, or email firstname.lastname@example.org..
The New York Labor History Association mourns the
loss of our former President, Professor Bernard Bellush, who died on December 30, 2011, at the age of
94. The NYLHA has established a Bernard Bellush Prize to be awarded for a student for a research
paper in the fields of labor and work history. The rules for the prize will be established by the Prizes
Committee of the NYLHA.
Bernie Bellush was a scholar of labor history, particularly for the book, Union Power and New York:
Victor Gotbaum and District Council 37, written with his wife, Professor Jewel Bellush. Bernie was
also an activist his entire life. He took a leading role in many organizations, including as first Chairman
of the Faculty Senate at City College, CUNY, and with the Americans for Democratic Action. He was
a stirring force in the classroom, and his dynamism and concern for students left a lasting impression
on those he taught. Bernie was a man who sought leadership, and once in such a position knew how
to work with people of all opinions to make things happen. He had strong views, but also had the
ability to find a common ground on many issues. He was a unique person, and those of us fortunate
enough to have worked with him over the years will always remember his accomplishments and
personality. The Bernard Bellush Prize will help memorialize him well into the future.
To learn more about the life and work of Bernie Bellush and his wife, Jewel, See the
Guide to the Bellush Papers at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU. For an obituary, see
www.dc37.net, Public Employee Press, March 2012, p. 26.
PBS and AOL have launched a video concerning
the successful, but very difficult, efforts of Brenda Berkman to integrate into the New York City
Fire Department by gender. The video offers a look at the struggle to make highly coveted civil service
jobs available to women. It also makes amply clear the costs for pioneers such as Berkman.
Access is at
Joe Doyle and Rachel Bernstein have prepared a
virtual exhibit on the Labor Arts website about the conditions for seamen, and the events of 1936,
including a key strike, that were critical to the formation of the National Maritime Union (CIO).
The images and text show the deplorable conditions in the industry, and how the leaders of the
embryonic National Maritime Union challenged the existing unions in the industry, sought to organize
seamen, and aimed to make dramatic changes in their lives, including breaking down existing racial
barriers. To view the virtual exhibit, go to
Longtime New York Labor History Association Board
Member Connie Kopelov and her partner, Phyllis Siegel, had the distinction of being the first couple to
be married under the new Marriage Equality Law on July 24, 2011. The ceremony at City Hall brought much
publicity their way (see the enclosed article from the
Public Employee Press, DC 37, AFSCME).
Kopelov spent her working life as a labor educator, working for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, the
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers. She was a founding member of the Coalition of Labor
Union Women and held several positions in that organization. Her outstanding contributions to the
NYLHA including overseeing production of the annual May Labor History Calendar and her walking
tours of working women's history in New York City. Connie is now retired and living in New York City.
Congratulatory messages can be sent to her c/o the NYLHA, attn: Gail Malmgreen, Robert F. Wagner
Labor Archives, 70 Washington Square South, 10th Fl., New York, NY 10012.