THE BLOG
07/09/2013 01:49 pm ET | Updated Sep 08, 2013

Rebecca Lurie, past NEW Program Manager, discusses her NEW experiences

By
Rebecca Lurie, Consortium for Worker Education

When did you first get involved with Nontraditional Employment for Women?
1982

What was your role with NEW?
First, as a union member and job seeker trying to transfer my book. Later, in 1992, as a Program Manager.

What do you believe was your greatest accomplishment at NEW?
Re-starting their job training program with a very clear tie to the unions.

What is your best memory from your experiences with NEW?
So many I cannot say which is best... landing work at the North River Pollution treatment plant where the federal contract made room for a women's shanty (!), shaping at Battery Park City and later, winning a class action law suit for Olympia and York's refusal to hire women... Writing curriculum for the intro to the trades, teaching that class, setting up the shop in the basement to teach basic tool use, teaching basic tool use, nursing my baby while teaching Intro to the trades and unionism 101.

How has NEW changed over the years
It has become a well-respected aspect of the city's construction industry, not from the outside...

Who in the NEW community -- student, staff member, etc. -- has inspired you the most?
Elly Spicer and Martha Baker.

What was your biggest challenge while working with NEW? How have NEW's challenges changed over the years?
Getting women in has changed over the years. There is a tension between how it was -- being advocates for women, thereby fighting with the industry against prejudice and for job access -- and now, helping the industry, assuring the unions can find good women members.

How would you describe the success of tradeswomen today?
More and more we are accepted in the industry.

Subscribe to Must Reads.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with their authors.