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Demands Progress in Contract Talks
State Stalls on
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Victory at Hostos
for Full Time Dues
Letters to the
Results From 2001
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Numbers Tell the Tale
Taking Action on
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Chapter on the Move for Full Reimbursement for Medical Part B
1300 Rally Outside
WBAI, Demand Listener Control
CUNY, The PSC and
the Prison- Industrial Complex
Opinion: Notes on
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Ray Markey Talks
About the Librarians' Contract
Day, five hundred people filled Judson Memorial Church in
Greenwich Village for a celebration of the life of Debra E.
Bernhardt, trade union historian and director of the Robert F.
Wagner Labor Archives at New York University.
Academics and union officials mingled in an atmosphere of
warmth and respect.
who died on March 22, described her work as “documenting the
undocumented,” gathering the history of America’s working
people. There are
more than 200 union collections and over 3,600 hours of oral
history in the Wagner Archives, mostly collected by Bernhardt.
These include papers and oral history from the PSC. She led a
successful three-year campaign to have Union Square, site of
unionist, socialist, and anarchist rallies and the first Labor Day
parade, declared a national historic landmark.
She was also the co-creator of Ordinary People,
Extraordinary Lives, a traveling exhibit and illustrated book
documenting New York City’s laborers and labor movements of the
late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
memorial meeting began with the New York City Labor Chorus,
surrounded by the banners of visiting unions, singing “Union
Walkowitz of the NYU history department, where Bernhardt received
her doctorate in public history, remarked that “her success as a
public historian lay as much in her activism as in her scholarly
Frank, another colleague, agreed:
“There was nothing Debra liked better than a good
challenge to a bad rule. There
were rules that she broke and rules that she staunchly kept—for
example, she never, ever crossed a picket line.”
Larry Cary, a labor lawyer and the first staff member of
the Wagner archives, told the audience that Bernhardt “made the
archives a place that felt comfortable to eminent scholars as well
as leaders of the working class from the five boroughs.”
Chase, a PSC grievance counselor and professor of English at
Kingsborough Community College, told Clarion, “Debra was a
friend to this local and many others.”
Bernhardt worked with PSC members on the union’s
archives, which are part of the Wagner collection.
Chase said, “I admired her as a dedicated trade unionist,
a generous and creative human being and a devoted friend.”
commemorates Triangle Shirtwaist fire of
same year. Box above corpse
reads "Operators wanted.
Inq. 8th floor." This --and much
more-- available at Labor Arts site
E. Bernhardt, a labor historian who
'documented the undocumented' lives of
blue-collar New Yorkers, as she put it,
left a lasting legacy when she died in
March at 47....[including] a Web site,
which went online
last week. The site, which Dr.
Bernhardt helped create, is devoted to the
arts and artifacts of workers in New York
and elsewhere as they sought safer working
conditions, fairer treatment and better
Times, 5/20/01, page 7, City Section
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