All posts by Murphy Institute

September Protests

Photo Credit: Leung Ching Yau Alex via Flickr

By Stanley Aronowitz

September was an eventful month for social protests.

Here at home, an estimated 400,000 marchers filled the streets of New York City to demand urgent action to stem climate change. Global warming is only the tip of the crisis: flooding, severe hurricane activity, droughts and unexpected heat waves have recently afflicted large portions of the planet. The climate march comprised a wide range of groups, including large contingents from the unions, environmental organizations and a surprising array of unaffiliated citizens.

On Monday, September 29 hundreds of members of the Professional Staff Congress, the union of faculty and staff of the City University of New York rallied for a raise on the street facing the main entrance to Baruch College, where the CUNY Board of Directors was meeting. Like other city and state workers, the union’s 23,000 members had not received a raise for four years.

The pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong exemplified a more militant response. Continue reading September Protests

The growing disjunction in education policy

This article originally appeared on The Hill.

By Basil Smikle Jr.

A flurry of activity among education reformers across the country exposes a growing bifurcation within its ranks, uncovered by recent challenges to teacher tenure in New York. Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s Partnership for Educational Justice, which recently recruited renowned attorneys David Boies and Laurence Tribe, seeks to reform teacher tenure laws, mirroring activities that led to California’s controversial Vergara ruling. But earlier this month, the New York City Parents Union filed suit separately alleging that Brown’s group failed to include scores of minority parents in their complaint. This troubling yet pervasive tableau has bedeviled modern reform movements since their inception: Leadership has remained predominantly white, even though the target populations are overwhelmingly black and Latino. And these battles are contributing to a growing disjunction in education policy and among stakeholders within communities and across cities.  Continue reading The growing disjunction in education policy

AFSCME Education Department Seeks Field Education Coordinator in Midwest

The AFSCME Education Department ignites and fuels activism and leadership by creating a culture of collaborative learning; developing members, leaders and staff as educators and change agents; and using new technologies to expand the reach of our programs. The Field Education Coordinator is responsible for implementing this mission in assigned states in the region.

DUTIES: Plans, designs, coordinates, and conducts education and training programs, develops program content; develops and/or orders materials. Works with affiliate and national union leaders and staff to develop education plans. Prepares affiliate activists and staff to conduct training programs. Creates, modifies, and revises program materials to address specific needs. Includes appropriate examples, role-play scenarios, exercises, case studies, and discussion questions. Provides follow-up training in the field for participants. For new/special courses, researches subject area, designs curricula, and prepares/produces materials to be used. Field tests new material and seeks feedback from participants to refine curricula and materials. Makes logistical arrangements associated with educational programs, including turnout, contracting with training facilities, and requesting audio/visual and other equipment needs. Reconciles billing statements and approves for payment. Prepares weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports on all activities. Performs other duties as assigned in support of departmental activities.

REQUIREMENTS: Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with course work in labor relations, education or organization development and five to seven years of related experience or any equivalent combination of education and experience. Experience in union organizing and/or representation work. Thorough knowledge of adult teaching and learning techniques. Knowledge of labor unions and the associated training of activists, leaders, and staff. Ability to develop and conduct presentations in a variety of settings. Ability to select or develop appropriate teaching materials. Ability to use all forms of multi-media visual aids. Ability to use computer and associated software, including web-based applications. Ability to develop work plans, work with minimal direction and execute projects effectively within a prescribed plan of action. Ability to meet deadlines, measure progress, and evaluate program effectiveness. Excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively. Work is performed in an office environment, as well as in the workplace, training facilities and in the field. Must be able to drive and coach organizers conducting site and home visits. Travel and evening/weekend work are extensive and required. A valid driver’s license is required. Conducting a mock training is part of the interview process.

Visit the ACSME website for details about how to apply.

Posting Date: May 28, 2014

Proud to be an Equal Opportunity/AA Employer

Hillary Clinton’s commitment to civil rights

This article originally appeared on The Hill.

By Basil Smikle Jr.

On a subfreezing morning in January 2003, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) walked to the pulpit of Trinity Baptist Church’s Martin Luther King Day celebration in the Bronx to make a startlingly rousing speech to their predominantly African-American congregation. Typically, such speeches are principally aspirational — they acknowledge that society has largely rebuked racial discrimination’s ugly past but urge steadfastness in tackling challenges that lay ahead. But it was Clinton’s stirring repudiation of Trent Lott, then the Republican Senate Majority Leader from Mississippi who a month earlier praised Strom Thurman’s 1948 pro-segregation presidential campaign, that enthused the audience. Her remarks suggested changes in leadership alone will not eradicate racism and discrimination but the rigidity of the pathways to political and economic enfranchisement must acquiesce to the strength inherent in this country’s diversity. Continue reading Hillary Clinton’s commitment to civil rights

American Airlines and US Airways Service Agents Vote to Join Union

This month, service agents at the recently-merged American Airlines and US Airways held a combined union election, voting on whether or not to join CWA-IBT, a joint union of the Communications Workers of America and the Teamsters. The stakes were high: an upvote would mean the un-unionized American Airlines would join in US Airways workers’ collective bargaining. A downvote would have lost US Airways workers their contract.

Fortunately, 86% voted in favor of unionizing, empowering the existing union and finally granting union status to American Airlines employees, who tried unsuccessfully to unionize last year.

For more on this historic vote, check out Dave Jamieson’s article, American Airlines, US Airways Workers Vote Overwhelmingly To Join Union.

Photo by Matt Hintsa via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).