TWU Mourns Ursula Levelt, Retired Director of the Local 100 Legal Department

TWU Local 100 sadly reports the passing of long-time in-house attorney and labor activist, Ursula Levelt.  She died on July 7, 2019 of cancer in her beloved Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  She had moved back there recently to spend her final days in the place of her birth.  She was 60 years old. Her husband, Bill, informed the union of her death, saying: “Ursula was dedicated to the labor movement and to TWU Local 100.  She remembered the many friends and comrades there that she had worked with and fought for over the many years.”

Ursula Levelt was born in Amsterdam on April 14, 1959.  She immigrated to the U.S. and attended The New School in New York, earning a BA in 1997.  She then attended CUNY Law School, graduating in 2000. Her first job as an attorney was with the firm headed by Arthur Schwartz in 2001, then General Counsel to Local 100.

According to Schwartz, Ursula skillfully defended Local 100 members in hundreds of disciplinary arbitrations.  In 2005, Local 100 established its own Legal Department and Ursula was among the first attorneys hired.  She continued to focus on disciplinary arbitrations.  She became an expert on Medical Appeals, and fought hard for the rights of Local 100 members with disabilities.  She handled many contractual arbitrations on medical issues. In 2011 Ursula became the Legal Director of Local 100, a position she served in until her retirement in 2016. Although she planned to move with her husband to Hawaii, Governor Cuomo offered her an appointment to the Workers Compensation Board as a Commissioner, so she stayed at her home in Newburgh, NY. She resigned from the Board in June after her diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “Ursula was a wonderful person and a dedicated fighter for the workers. We are all saddened to learn of her passing.  She made TWU a stronger union with her professionalism and dedication. We offer our deepest condolences to her family.”

Arthur Schwartz said of his long-time colleague: “I will always remember Ursula as a person with endless energy, with a smile on her face even in difficult times. She was smart, principled, easy to get along with, and a fierce fighter for what she believed in. And she was a good friend. Her death is a real loss for the Labor Movement and progressive politics.”

Ursula was active throughout her legal career in the National Lawyers Guild, a 6o year old progressive lawyers organization, building its labor law program, and writing columns in various publications. She was also a roving ambassador for CUNY Law School. She is survived by her husband and son.