On Friday, May 11th, in collaboration with Democracy @ Work New York, the Murphy Institute hosted a fascinating panel exploring how progressive local innovations stand to solve long-standing, seemingly intractable issues around poverty and inequality. Panelists included:
Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project, and author of We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy
Gabriela Alvarez, Chef and founder of Liberation Cuisine, a catering company dedicated to preparing meals collectively with sustainable ingredients and practices. Alvarez recently took her passion for healing and organizing with food to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts
Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises and the author of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi
Yorman Nunez, Program Manager at Community Innovators Lab MIT and coordinator of Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative
Miss the panel or want to experience it again? Watch it here:
In New York City worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and community land trusts are on the policy platform of the City Council’s progressive caucus and elected officials in the democratic party are pushing legislation for employee and worker ownership at the state and federal levels. With greater visibility and support from the public sector some believe that these pilots and experiments for neighborhoods to drive wealth creation and capture and create equitable economic opportunities can reach into broad-based and mainstream policy.
There is an opening here to expand the horizon of what is seen as possible for genuine equitable urban economic development, and its relationship to labor, communities and the political economy. In short, we can change the conversation from mostly pushing for greater accountability and transparency in the existing economic development order, to a conversation about what should come next and what policies and institutions would be a part of getting us there.
The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
The wildly successful teachers’ strike in West Virginia earlier this spring has not only inspired walkouts in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona, but has managed to turn the tide in the all-important realm of public opinion. According to a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a full 78 percent of Americans believe that teachers are underpaid. And remarkably, slightly more than half approve of teachers’ strikes to defend public education and protest low pay. Given the fact that members of teachers’ unions currently represent fully a quarter of all union members nationwide, this growing support for teachers holds extra importance.
Here, we offer a piece by New Labor Forum Editor-at-Large Steve Fraser, who examines the conditions that have caused red state teachers to shed the respectability and ambiguity of middle-class status to wage a working-class rebellion. And in a piece written for today’s newsletter, Chris Brooks suggests what teachers’ unions will have to do to keep up with a movement spurred by the rank-and-file, in defense not just of themselves, but also of the children and communities they serve. We also include an op-ed by Paul Krugman, who reveals how the tax cutting protocol of right-wing state governments has led to wage and benefit cuts for teachers and four-day school weeks and substandard conditions for students. And these circumstances, it seems, have finally caused the broader public to reject the conservative propensity to scapegoat teachers for the failures of a public education system plagued by unequal funding and fiscal austerity. We will continue to assess the lessons and inspiration this uprising offers a debilitated labor movement and political movements of the burgeoning resistance.
Co-sponsored by The Murphy Institute’s Labor Studies Program, CUNY and The NYC Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network
In recent years, structural changes in the labor market, skyrocketing inequality, and rapid technological innovation have sparked renewed debate and speculation about the future of capitalism and the future of work itself. This conference features leading scholars, journalists and activists’ perspectives on these issues.
The day is structured to engage three key debates:
The impact of technological innovation, especially robots and artificial intelligence, on workers and on the labor market
The vast increase in capacity for surveillance and data collection by high-tech firms and its implications for daily life as well as for the workplace
The impact of the ecological crisis and the political failure to address it for the future of capitalism and the future of work.
The conference has three panels, each devoted to one of these debates. Each panel includes one keynote presentation from an expert on the topic, comments from two respondents, followed by discussion with the audience.
Future Hindsight is a podcast hosted by Mila Atmos where civic engagement meets civil discourse. On last week’s show, Atmos interviewed Murphy Professor Ruth Milkman, where the two discussed the role of unions for workers, the main factors of de-unionization, and the potential leadership by millennials in this space.
Students and faculty of the Murphy Institute and Cornell University Labor Relations Certificate Program gathered on Saturday, April 21st to discuss the Future of Work. The annual spring conference created and facilitated by current Cornell-CUNY students featured veteran leaders within New York City’s labor movement. Among the guest speakers were Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative for popular democracy, Garrett O’Connor, experienced organizer and labor strategist, Murphy student Alexander Mason, and community, labor, and anti-war activist Eljeer Hawkins.
The conference focused on the impact of Artificial Intelligence innovation within the workplace and its repercussions to the existing and future workforce. Students and speakers collaborated to discuss how the industries of New York City, specifically the transit, healthcare, education, retail and construction industries are being altered by A.I., robotics, and other technologies. In group sessions, students discussed how the future of work will contribute to or reduce existing inequalities and inequities within our labor system, in addition to the effects technological innovations will play in relation to ongoing social, racial, and environmental inequities. The conference laid the foundation for the upcoming series The Future of Capitalism and The Future of Workto be held at the Murphy Institute this Thursday—May 4th. Continue reading Photos: Cornell-Cuny Labor Relations Program Spring Conference→