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Adult Education

Adult Education

Sarah Lawrence Professor Gives Lecture on Lessons from History of Public Sector Unions PDF Print Email


By Bill Gaston, Secretary, Bronxville Democratic Committee

Mar. 20, 2019:  “Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions” was the title of a lecture delivered by Priscilla Murolo, professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College, at a public meeting of the Bronxville Democratic Committee on March 9 at the Bronxville Public Library.

Author of the book From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: An Illustrated History of Labor in the United States, Professor Murolo traced the historical, often unruly, roots of union organizing from the nineteenth century through the turbulent days of the New Deal and into the present day.

Professor Murolo said the history of labor organizing in the United States has been one of constant struggle against implacable and solid resistance from powerful, outside forces. Nonetheless, for many workers, unions have organized, and effectively mobilized, even outside the protection of the law. “Advances can be made and have been made without the cover of law,” said Professor Murolo. “Labor law matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters.”

Long before collective bargaining agreements achieved formal and legal recognition of unions, so-called “unorganizables” still managed to organize, she explained. She cited the case of unemployed workers who found jobs in the New Deal public works programs under the rubric of “workers alliances” and successfully won higher wages and better working conditions despite their status as temporary employees and their subsistence pay.

Another lesson from the history of public sector unions, said Professor Murolo, is the importance of what she called “social justice unionism,” forming and strengthening alliances between unions and like-minded community groups fighting for causes beyond workplace issues such as racial justice in the Jim Crow South. Though such alliances had the potential for developing frictions, they formed building blocks that developed stronger worker solidarity.

Employment in the public sector experienced rapid growth in the post-World War II period as the number of state, county, and municipal workers tripled. Like workers in the private sector, they sought to unionize. By 1955, private sector workers covered by unions reached their peak density, reaching 33% of the workforce. Perhaps not coincidentally, as economists including Paul Krugman have argued, data show that measures of income inequality were at their lowest during this period in American history and middle-class prosperity was at its highest.

During the late 1950s and into the 1960s, public sector unions grew swiftly as they partnered with civil rights activists and black freedom movements to gain a stronger foothold and greater acceptance in society. Black workers were strongly represented in these unions, which in turn enabled them to achieve middle-class status while strengthening their job protections.

Professor Murolo said this rapid period of public sector union growth came to a dramatic halt in the early 1980s with the election of President Ronald Reagan and a dramatic standoff in 1981 with 11,000 striking air traffic controllers. Considered one of the most pivotal events of late twentieth-century U.S. labor history, President Reagan fired the workers, decertified the union, and banned them from federal employment for the rest of their lives.

Though a new union was ultimately formed, the damage was done, said Professor Murolo. She said that President Reagan’s actions gave the green light to many private employers to bust unions and scale back worker protections. As a result, over the past few decades, private-sector unionization has plummeted to a mere 6.4% of the workforce, down from its peak of 33% in 1955.

In 2018, public sector unions received a crushing blow in the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the justices effectively outlawed--on free speech grounds--compulsory “fair share” agency fees levied on non-union members. The immediate impact of that decision, unions feared, would be a massive defection of dues-paying members and a crippling of union finances.

However, the worst fears of unions so far have failed to materialize, said Professor Murolo. “That’s not the way history works.” Rather than facing an exodus of members, unions have responded with reinvigorated registration campaigns, signing up new members and re-upping existing members. As one union head has remarked, the Janus decision was a necessary “kick in the ass for us.”

Despite relentless efforts on the part of movement conservatives to weaken if not destroy public sector unions, she is hopeful labor can survive. “There is more reason to hope than fear.” But she cautioned that it is important for unions to stay on the right side of public opinion. “If unions are seen as advocating bold action for the common good, the public will follow.” As evidence, she cited the recent work stoppages by teachers in Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma that not only garnered surprising levels of public support in these “red” states but also resulted in agreements to increase teacher salaries and state education funding.  

In From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, Professor Murolo concludes, “If no victory has ever been final, neither has any defeat.” That may be the final lesson of the history of public sector unions in the United States.

Pictured here: Sarah Lawrence College.

Photo by N. Bower

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 

College of New Rochelle Closing; Concordia's Nursing School to Offer Guaranteed Admission to Its Nursing Students PDF Print Email


By Rebecca Portnoy, Communications Manager, Concordia College

Mar. 20, 2019:  Concordia College New York has announced that it will offer College of New Rochelle nursing students affected by CNR’s likely closing guaranteed admission to Concordia’s top-rated nursing program. Significantly, Concordia will accept in transfer all completed nursing courses, including clinical courses. Concordia has created a web page where CNR nursing students can find complete information:

Concordia is extending this offer of guaranteed admission and full credit transfer to CNR’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate (accelerated program) nursing students in good standing, as well as to any students who have been accepted into CNR’s upcoming nursing classes. CNR students will graduate on time in their program of choice: accelerated or traditional undergraduate.  

Dr. Susan Apold, PhD, ANP-BC, GNP, FAAN, FAANP, and dean of Concordia’s School of Health Sciences and Nursing, said: “CNR has a world-class nursing program, and we want to give these students the opportunity to transfer to another world-class program. I am a registered nurse, and I want everyone with the same dream to achieve their goal without interruption.”  

Concordia’s highly regarded, well-established nursing program is kicking off its tenth anniversary Decade of Impact celebrations in 2019. The school’s first-time NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam) pass rate of 95% (well above both the national pass rate of 89% and the New York State pass rate of 88%) places the program in the top five in New York State.

One hundred percent of Concordia’s nursing graduates are employed within ten months, sought after by top health care providers including White Plains Hospital, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, NYU Langone, Weill Cornell, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Many specialize as OR, ER, neonatal, or trauma nurses; many others go on to become nurse practitioners.  

Whether in the accelerated 15-month post-baccalaureate program or traditional undergraduate program, Concordia’s nursing students thrive, supported by the personal attention this small, diverse, faith-based college provides. CNR students are welcome to walk into Concordia’s admission office in Talbot House with their transcripts for an instant transfer decision.

Photo courtesy Concordia College

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 


U.S. Senator Named Concordia College's 2019 Commencement Speaker: See Video PDF Print Email


By Rebecca Portnoy, Communications Manager, Concordia College

Mar. 13, 2019:  Dr. Ben Sasse, U.S. Senator for Nebraska, will address the graduates at the commencement ceremonies of Concordia College New York’s 138th academic year. Commencement is set for May 19, 2019, at 2:00 pm. An honorary doctor of humane letters will be conferred upon Senator Sasse at the ceremony.

Click here to see the video announcement of Sasse as commencement speaker by Dr. John A. Nunes, president of Concordia College.

A prominent politician, respected academic, and best-selling author, Senator Sasse was the president of Midland University (formerly Midland Lutheran College) in Fremont, Nebraska, before he was elected to the United States Senate in 2014. He previously served as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The native of Fremont holds a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard University, an MA in liberal studies from the Graduate Institute at St. John's College, and MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in history from Yale University. He is the author of The Vanishing American Adult (2017) and Them: Why We Hate Each Other--and How to Heal (2018).

Dr. John A. Nunes said, “I am delighted that Concordia’s graduates will have the opportunity to learn from, and be inspired by, Senator Ben Sasse. He is a man of deep faith and a scholar of extraordinary intellect, a gifted communicator, and an energetic advocate for civil discourse, all qualities we strive to instill in our students.”   

Pictured here:  Senator Sasse (L) with Concordia President John Nunes.

Photo courtesy Concordia College

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 

Bronxville Adult School to Offer Bridge, Shakespeare, Suspense Cinema, and More PDF Print Email



By Tom Hein, Member, Board of Trustees, Bronxville Adult School

Mar. 13, 2019:  Despite the lingering cold weather, things are heating up at the Bronxville Adult School this month. A variety of courses—both existing, new offerings, and returning favorites—feature fun and games that will stimulate your mind and energize your body.

If you are looking to expand your card game skills, Bridge for Beginners provide an opportunity to learn a game of lifelong challenge and enjoyment starting March 21. For those looking to sharpen their skills, the Supervised Play: Learn While You Play, Play While You Learn series provides the chance to improve your understanding and expertise. It will meet at The Bronxville Women's Club starting March 18. Both courses will be taught by bridge expert Fouad (Fred) Hawa, a Diamond Life Master who directs the games at Siwanoy Country Club.

If card games aren’t your forte, then try your skills at Mah Jong for Beginners, the American version of the ancient Chinese tile game. The game is easy to learn and fun to play, and it is regarded as a very sociable pastime. It will meet at The Bronxville Women's Club starting March 19.

If you are interested in a different type of mental exercise, the brand-new Exploring Shakespeare course will dive into the work of the world's greatest playwright. With classes commencing just past the ides of March on March 21, this course includes theater games, Elizabethan history, scene recreations, and lots of Shakespearean fun. 

Perhaps your preferred theater is the movie theater? If so, dive into the deep end of horror for an informative and entertaining overview of three different sub-genres of suspense film at the Suspense Cinema Sampler. This new course explores shark cinema, hagsploitation, and zombie movies and will be led by Emmy-nominated writer and award-winning filmmaker Kevin Maher. It will be presented at The Bronxville School in collaboration with The Picture House Regional Film Center starting March 25.

This spring also presents your best chance to finally learn how to play a new instrument. In Fun with Beginner Ukulele, you will learn how to strum favorite tunes on this simple, charming instrument starting March 21. Follow up with Learn to Play the Harmonica in One Night later in the spring, on May 6, where the focus will be on fun in this beginner workshop.

Finally, if the prospect of warmer weather on the horizon has you itching to get active, the Bronxville Adult School's dance offerings are perennial favorites. This season, there is no shortage of variety in the dance moves you can master. Led by experienced and enthusiastic instructors, now is your chance to learn ballroom dancing in Ballroom Basics: American Rhythm or American Smooth, belly dancing, country line dancing, hip hop, Irish ceili dancing, and tap dancing in Tap Basics, all of which begin in March, followed by salsa and bachata, square dancing, Bollywood, and Dance Through the Decades in April and May.

These exciting opportunities—along with many others—are included in the Bronxville Adult School spring catalogue. Registration is now open, and you can sign up online at or by phone at the school's new number, 914-395-0516.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 



Bronxville School Students Selected to Perform with All-County Ensembles March 2 and 3 PDF Print Email


Contributed by Michael Ganci, Syntax, for The Bronxville School

Feb. 20, 2019:  Twenty-five Bronxville School singers and instrumentalists have been selected to perform for All-County music ensembles by the prestigious Westchester County School Music Association for its 2019 festival concerts.

The Elementary All-County Chorus will include fifth-graders Grayson Curran (soprano), Anabella Davis (alto), Katie Fezza (soprano), and Peyton Levine (alto) and sixth-graders Fiona Barr (alto), Dakota Delli Colli (soprano), Catalina Gallipoli (alto), Charlotte Golimbu (alto), Isabel Haller (soprano), Olivia Patterson (soprano), Brooke Thompson (soprano), and Lena Vermette (alto).

The Intermediate All-County Chorus will include seventh-grader Savannah Delli Colli (alto) and eighth-graders Kaela Schubert (alto) and Mota Rodembusch (soprano). The students were selected to participate in the All-County choruses by school music teachers Marina Brown and Pamela Simpson.  “We are very proud of the hard work our singers have been putting forth to make this concert a success,” said Brown, the elementary school choral director. “They are singing challenging music in several languages that takes many hours of practice at home and long rehearsals outside of the school day. They are representing the Bronxville Music Department wonderfully."

Eighth-grader Aidan McBride (french horn) and ninth-grader Alice Vranka (clarinet) were selected to participate in the Intermediate All-County Band. “I am very proud of the work our students have done and am excited to have the opportunity to work with them,” said Vincent Iannelli, the middle and high school band director. The band and orchestra students were selected through competitive auditions that required students to perform a prepared piece, play scales, and sight-read.

Fifth-grader Caitlin Burke (viola) will perform with the Elementary All-County Orchestra, while sixth-grader Sophia Ikiri (violin) and seventh-graders Simos Dimas (violin), Madeline Lescott (viola), and Ria Mueller (cello) will perform with the Junior All-County Orchestra. Members of the Intermediate All-County Orchestra will feature eighth-grader Remi Mellinghoff (violin) and ninth-graders Tyler Tanaka-Wong (viola) and Patrick Wu (cello). “This is a tremendous accomplishment for these students,” said Claire Stancarone, middle school orchestra director. “We wish them the best for their upcoming performance.”  

L to R: Bronxville School students Alice Vranka, Simos Dimas, Madeline Lescott, Remi Mellinghoff, Ria Mueller, Tyler Tanaka-Wong, Caitlin Burke, Aidan McBride, Patrick Wu, and Sophia Ikiri.

This year’s Intermediate All-County Band will be directed by Sharon Slote, the Bronxville Elementary School band director. The program will include Encanto by Robert W. Smith, Heaven’s Light by Steven Reineke, Chorale and Shaker Dance 2 by John Zdechlik, and The Liberty Bell March by John Philip Sousa. “It is a significant honor to be invited to direct an All-County music ensemble,” said Denise Lutter, orchestra director and Performing Arts Department curriculum leader. “We are very proud of our colleague for receiving this accolade and grateful for her many outstanding contributions to the Bronxville School Performing Arts Program.”

Bronxville Elementary School band director Sharon Slote has been selected to direct the Intermediate All-County Band.

The Intermediate All-County Band concerts will take place on Saturday, March 2, at 11:00 am. The Elementary and Intermediate All-County Chorus concerts will take place on Saturday, March 2, at 4:00 pm. The Elementary, Junior, and Intermediate All-County Orchestra concerts will take place on Sunday, March 3, at 11:00 am. All concerts will take place at SUNY Purchase.

Pictured (at top): Back row: Intermediate All-County Chorus members Kaela Schubert, Savannah Delli Colli, and Mota Rodembusch. Middle row: Elementary All-County Chorus members Fiona Barr, Charlotte Golimbu, Dakota Delli Colli, Lena Vermette, Brooke Thompson, Olivia Patterson, Isabel Haller, and Catalina Gallipoli. Front row: Elementary All-County Chorus members Grayson Curran, Anabella Davis, Peyton Levine, and Katie Fezza.

Photos courtesy The Bronxville School 

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 


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