All posts by Murphy Institute

New Labor Forum Highlights: September 17th, 2018

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.

How far we’ve come since Anita Hill’s riveting testimony during the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings twenty-seven years ago! Now that the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has come forward, his hasty confirmation appears far less certain. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says she’s willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Should she do so, her statements are likely to acquire a heightened credence made possible by the #MeToo movement. With this news in mind, we offer Beyond #MeToo, an article from the current issue of New Labor Forum by social analyst Judith Levine. Levine surveys the working-class branch of the #MeToo movement and assesses the options—from the courts to unions to consciousness raising—available to blue-collar, service, and care workers as they confront widespread workplace sexual harassment.

We also draw your attention to a recent report by The National Women’s Law Project titled, Out of the Shadows: An Analysis of Sexual Harassment Charges Filed by Working Women. This report includes the findings that, between 2012 and 2016, Millenials and Gen Xers filed sexual harassment charges with the EEOC at over double the rate of Baby Boomers; and black women were disproportionately represented among those who filed complaints. Evidence included in the report shows that, although an estimated 87 to 94 percent of those harmed by sexual harassment never file a legal complaint, the tides are now turning.

The National Women’s Law Project has also produced an analysis of The Record of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Critical Legal Rights for Women, which points to multiple causes for concern to women, people of color, and workers. High on the list of the concerns enumerated in the report would be Kavanaugh’s predisposition toward limiting individual rights. Kavanaugh is quoted saluting former Chief Justice for “stemming the general tide of freewheeling judicial creation of un-enumerated rights that were not rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.” Among those un-enumerated rights, one might argue, are indeed the very constitutional amendments upon which so many of us have come to rely.

Table of Contents

  1. Beyond #MeToo/ Judith Levine, New Labor Forum
  2. Out of the Shadows: An Analysis of Sexual Harassment Charges Filed by Working Women/ Amanda Rossie, Jasmine Tucker and Kayla Patrick, National Women’s Law Center
  3. The Record of Brett M. Kavanaugh on Critical Legal Rights for Women/ National Women’s Law Center

Photo by Charles Edward Miller via flickr (cc-by-sa)

NYC Office for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Seeks Deputy Director, Business Development and New Economy Initiatives

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Administration seeks to increase contracting opportunities for M/WBEs as an essential component in tackling income inequality across the city. Mayor de Blasio created the Mayor’s Office for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) to address the disparity between City contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups and their overall representation in City contracting. The Office is responsible for oversight, policy, interagency coordination and accountability of the City’s M/WBE Program. It will serve as a One-Stop-Shop for  M/WBEs interested in doing business with the city and its agencies.

About the Role:
Directly reporting to the Sr. Advisor / Director of Mayor Office for M/WBE, the Deputy Director, Business Development and New Economy Initiatives will serve as the office chief strategist for business development and new economy initiatives. The position will also oversee the development of a citywide ecosystem for
cooperative economics. The role is also responsible for strategically aligning the city’s efforts to grow the footprint of M/WBEs by building capacity and creating sustainable mechanisms for business growth and development.

Duties include, but are not limited to:
 Work closely with the Sr. Advisor/Director of Mayor Office for M/WBE to develop overall policy and implementation strategies and initiatives for business development, new economy initiatives and applicable programs;
 Develop strategic multiyear citywide plan and build citywide infrastructure to support new economy initiatives;
 Develop systems and processes of supporting citywide HUB for worker and financial cooperatives;
 Perform market analysis, risk assessments and strategic industry research to support cooperative initiatives;
 Identify programmatic risks and deficiencies and determine appropriate strategies and initiatives to increase business growth and sustainability;
 Develop strategic partnerships with external stakeholders including; industry, business, community and elected leaders;
 Work cross functionally and interagency with all city agencies both mayoral and non-mayoral, including Mayor’s Office for Contract Services (MOCS) & the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to increase number of M/WBEs and utilization in accordance with the Mayor’s M/WBE goals and equity agenda;
 Provide technical assistance and advice to M/WBE’s about access to opportunities, bonding, financing, estimating, and other technical matters;
 Other related responsibilities as assigned.

Preferred Qualifications and/or Skills
 The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 8 years of work experience and a graduate degree in public policy, public administration, social work, law, business or a related field. He/she should have experience in city, state or federal government, and/or significant experience in the non-profit, education or social services sector. He/she should have experience directly or indirectly managing large groups of people in bringing projects from conception to implementation. Program development, policy analysis, research, project management, written communication and public speaking are all valued traits for this role. Experience leading or working in a similar role of business development or business management activities;
 Experience with worker owned business modeling including worker cooperatives and other worker rights initiatives;
 Business development and management consulting skills;
 An entrepreneurial spirit, strong management and supervisory skills, knowledge of city agencies, city government and social service organizations in New York City;
 Excellent communication, writing, research, analytical, organizational, interpersonal, timemanagement and multi-tasking skills, including the ability to take initiative, prioritize duties, pay close attention to detail, prioritize tasks, work independently and under pressure to meet specific deadlines, ability to think creatively, embrace new approaches and pioneer innovative solutions to intricate problems, while working collaboratively with a diverse constituency;
 Ability to work with all levels of staff, inside and outside of the city and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies and/or organizations;
 Demonstrated successful track record of performance;
 Familiar with State and/or federal laws and regulations regarding MWBE requirements is a plus;
 Ability to work calmly and proficiently under pressure and to adhere to strict deadlines;
 Ability to maintain confidential information and secure information without risk of disclosure to nonessential
 Ability to communicate, negotiate, and advise on matters that are highly complex and sensitive in nature. Ability to communicate effectively with persons on all levels both inside and outside the organization.
 Strong management consultant or related experience
 Ability to strategy build and implement enterprise wide improvements
 Ability to develop new structures, programs and initiatives to meet goals
 Strong planning and excellent research, critical thinking skills and judgment
 Ability to manage internal and external stakeholders and build rapport to meet outlined objectives
 Ability to conduct analyses on a wide variety of business development and related issues; synthesizing data and present findings in a cohesive and understandable format
 Ability to analyze federal, state and local regulatory documents and processes
 Ability to work under pressure, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and meet deadlines
 Accuracy, attention to detail
 Very good interpersonal skills
 Advanced ability in the use of relevant programs, including Excel, Word PowerPoint, and databases.

Commensurate with Experience

To Apply:
Submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to Candidate Application

Video: Is a Democratic Capitalism Possible?

On Friday, September 14th, members of the SLU community came together to grapple with the vexing — and structural — questions at the heart of our politics: Can democracy be saved from the grips of capitalism? What factors most threaten meaningful civic engagement and what changes are needed to bolster our democracy and create a more equitable society?

Watch the video here:

Participatory Budgeting Project Seeks Project Coordinator (NYC)

The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is a nonprofit organization that empowers people across the US and Canada to decide together how to spend public money. We create and support participatory budgeting (PB) processes that deepen democracy, build stronger communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective.

Purpose of Position

The Project Coordinator supports the implementation of the Participatory Budgeting Project’s programs, primarily our technical assistance for local participatory budgeting (PB) processes. The coordinator will also support campaigns under the network-building work area to build awareness about PB in communities. The position reports to the Project Manager and is based in our Oakland or Brooklyn office, with some national travel.


Important responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assist with development, revision, and design of materials, including facilitation guides, educational materials, and project management tools.
  • Deliver trainings and presentations for community members, organizations, and government employees.
  • Interact with local government officials, local government staff people, community organization representatives, and community members.
  • Respond to and liaise with PB volunteers, and communicate with clients as necessary and relevant.
  • Contribute to blog posts, website content, newsletters, presentations, reports, and other communications.
  • Assist with entry and management of program data.
  • Perform operational and administrative duties and functions as necessary to ensure smooth functioning of the organization.
  • Support other projects and programs within the organization as requested.

Desired Education, Experience, and Skills

The ideal candidate will have:

  • At least two years of relevant experience with community-facing and administrative work.
  • Experience and familiarity with public participation, community engagement, local government, or participatory budgeting.
  • Excellent facilitation and public speaking skills.
  • Comfort with creating space for conversation among diverse stakeholders. Experience with navigating power dynamics between community members and institutions a plus.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice.
  • Experience conducting community outreach with Latino, Black/African-American, LGBTQ, and/or Asian-American communities.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with a team; demonstrated ability to work on challenging, dynamic, and multifaceted projects.
  • Attention to detail, and an ability to organize, prioritize, and process large volumes of work.
  • Excellent interpersonal, and communication skills both verbally and written.
  • Excellent judgment, decision-making skills, and creativity; ability to exercise discretion.
  • Strong computer skills, including demonstrated proficiency with Google apps and Microsoft Office.
  • Proficiency in English.
  • Proficiency in an additional language a plus.
  • Flexibility to adapt as our organization and work changes rapidly.

Work Environment & Physical Demands

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting. Position requires significant travel to attend meetings and events. Up to 25% of time may be spent travelling in North America and beyond.

This is a full-time, 5-8 month contract position with the possibility of extension.

Annual Salary Range Equivalent: $42,000-$54,000


Proficiency in English is required and proficiency in an additional language spoken by communities in Oakland, CA or Brooklyn, NY are a plus




No requirement


Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to ASAP. Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis.

Elements of the Democratic Economy

For the sake of our communities and our environment, our economy will need to transform. But how? The language of “economic democracy” points us in a direction, but in order to make concrete advances and replicate successes, we need to be clear about just what a democratic economy consists of.  A new resource from The Next System Project can help guide the way:

Traditional policies and approaches are demonstrably failing to alter deteriorating long-run trends on income inequality, concentrated wealth, community divestment and displacement, persistent place- and race-based poverty, and environmental destruction. As a consequence, we have witnessed in recent years an explosion of interest in and practical experimentation with a variety of alternative economic institutions and models of ownership—from worker cooperatives and community land trusts to public banking and community development financial institutions—that are capable of fundamentally altering patterns of ownership and producing dramatically better distributional and other outcomes as a matter of course.  New hybrid forms are emerging, as well as ideas as to how innovative combinations might produce still more powerful results.  Taken as a whole, these institutions and approaches form the mosaic of a new democratic economy in the making, suggesting the contours of a next system beyond corporate capitalism and some pathways for getting there.  

Elements of the democratic economy distills this landscape of theoretical exploration and real-world practice into concise summaries describing each of the institutions involved, assessing their transformative characteristics and potential impact, and providing on-the-ground examples and a sense of the challenges yet to be overcome. The series is intended as an entry point for all those looking to understand the various building blocks of the democratic economy currently being constructed from the ground up in communities across our nation and around the world.

Explore sections on community land trusts, democratic energy utilities, resident-owned communities, limited equity housing cooperatives, and green banks. Check it out here.

Taking Back the Wheel: On Labor’s Future

How do we understand the future of labor? Will it be one of total automation and increasingly precarious workers? Perhaps if Uber has anything to say about it. SLU’s Kafui Attoh has co-authored an article with Declan Cullen and Kathryn Wells in Dissent that tackles some of these thorny questions called “Taking Back the Wheel.” Here’s an excerpt:

Uber argues that its biggest boon to “driver partners” is to present them with independence, flexibility, and more-than-competitive compensation. In this argument the on-demand economy ushers in a bright new future and an ostensibly new labor category: the flexible worker. In a twist on Marx’s utopian dream, such a worker can, Frank Pasquale pithily comments, “knit Etsy scarves in the morning, drive Uber cars in the afternoon, and write Facebook comments at night, flexibly shifting between jobs and leisure at will.”

Of course, the neoliberal utopia of a sharing economy operated by highly contingent workers has been shaken by a multitude of analyses telling a markedly different story. These studies, including ours, emphasize precaritysurveillancecontrollow earnings, and insecure conditions. If the Uber model is the future of work, they tell us, that future looks bleak.

Behind all these debates lurks a deeper premise: that the future of work is actually no work at all. 

But according to Attoh and his co-authors, that future isn’t inevitable:

We should resist this logic of inevitability and see platform capitalism for what it is: a means to mobilize a reserve labor army, overcome barriers to accumulation, and fight declining rates of profit. We are not yet on the road to Uberworld. There’s still time for us to wrest back control, not just of the future, but also of the present.

How might we do that? Read the article here for an accounting of the stakes and possibilities — and learn why Uber is less in control of the future than we might be made to think.

Photo by Maurizio Pesce via flickr (CC-BY)