All posts by Murphy Institute

Union Pension Funds and the Power of Capital

By Steve Brier

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Walking to work, I came across a building trades union-run informational picket line near my office. The NYC Concrete Coalition was picketing the Church Pension Group (CPG), which invests union pension funds. It seems that CPG has invested in a hedge fund, the Baupost Group, that is partnering on a huge real estate project on the east side. The $600 million project will be built by SSC Highrise, a “very irresponsible construction contractor,” according to the flier the workers were distributing. SSC’s principal, Seth Klarman has been found guilt of racial discrimination, wage theft, and tax fraud, according to the flyer.

What is to be done? According the picketers, we’re all supposed to call the Baupost CEO to complain. That’s a good idea and we should all do that, if possible. But complaining to a hedge fund billionaire about his desire to make money seems a bit like splitting in the wind. It makes one nostalgic for the days when building trades workers would take a more militant stance, shall we say, against scabs and non-union contractors. Shaming a hedge fund CEO (an unlikely outcome if there ever were one) isn’t going to make much of a difference for building trades workers and their union.

Dr. Steve Brier is a Murphy Institute Consortial Faculty Member and Prof. of Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Jobs to Move America Seeks Full-Time Lead Organizer (Los Angeles, CA)

Lead Organizer
Jobs to Move America seeks a full-time Lead Organizer with a background in manufacturing. We are hiring a talented and experienced organizer to assist in leading our organizing campaigns in transportation manufacturing. We are seeking a qualified professional who will be able to work well with unions, community organizations, and companies. The Lead Organizer will recruit and develop leaders, contribute to campaign strategy, communicate and motivate existing and potential members, and lead pubic actions. The Lead Organizer will work directly with the Project Director, as well as community coalition allies.

Jobs to Move America is a national project to make our transit dollars go the distance. Jobs to Move America has a plan to build better, cleaner public transit systems, to create and retain good manufacturing jobs, and to generate opportunities for unemployed Americans like veterans, single parents, and residents of low-income neighborhoods.

Responsibilities
· Recruitment: recruiting new members and new leaders.
· Leadership development: developing and maintaining effective leaders through training and establishing committees and other leadership structures.
· Communication: effectively communicate with workers in assigned jurisdictions through personal visits, including house visits, flyers, newsletters, phone calls, mailings, bulletin board postings, and meetings.
· Issue Campaigns: develop and implement effective industry strategies and coordinate activities to raise standards. Identify significant worksite and/or departmental issues and develop strategies and tactics to effectively address them, including petitions, group grievances, work actions, media events, and legal actions.
· Intern Management: Develop and maintain an internship program focusing on transit manufacturing issues
· Work as part of a team to implement campaign strategy. Plan and execute events and actions.
· Perform other duties as assigned

Job Qualifications
· 5+ years full-time labor, community or constituency organizing experience
· Experience leading other organizers is strongly preferred
· Excellent communication skills and ability to work well with others
· Ability to motivate and inspire others
· Willingness to work long and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends
· Detail oriented, driven to succeed; ability to work independently and in a team
· Commitment to excellence and to the mission and goals of the organization and the labor movement
· Having a valid drivers’ license and a reliable, insured transportation.
· Bilingual skills or fluency in second language a plus

Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience. Generous benefits provided.

E-mail a cover letter, detailed résumé, salary expectations and the name, job title, and phone number of three professional references to: info<at>jobstomoveamerica<dot>org .

Click here for more information on Jobs to Move America.

We are an affirmative action employer and encourage applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, or disability. We work to ensure fair treatment of applicants and employees and actively enforce zero tolerance policies against discrimination and sexual harassment. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Fighting Sexism in the Workplace

By Steve Brier

The New York Times recently ran back-to-back articles in their “This Working Life” column by Rachel Swarns. The first article, which appeared in the Oct. 19 issue of the paper, describes the firing of a pregnant low- wage worker, Angelica Valencia, from her position at Fierman Produce Exchange in Queens, where she earned $8.70 an hour packing potatoes. Her job, which frequently required overtime work, led her to get a doctor’s note indicating that her “high risk” pregnancy required that she not work beyond 40 hours a week. The company insisted that both overtime and heavy lifting of boxes were essential parts of the job and, despite passage by the City Council more than a year ago of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the company refused to make an accommodation for Ms. Valencia and fired her in August. The company claimed that she was unable to continue working because she was at “high risk” in a workplace “that was fast-paced, was very physical and involved machinery.” Continue reading Fighting Sexism in the Workplace

CSEA Local 1000 Hiring Labor Education Specialist

JOB SUMMARY:

Under the direct supervision of the Director of Education and Training, this position designs, develops and implements education and training programs that meet the stated needs of officers, stewards and members in Regions, Locals and Units. Labor Education Specialists are considered to be part of the field services available to the regions, locals and units and as such, are viewed as professional staff members who are responsible for statewide workshops and meetings, regional education committee meetings and regional events on an as needed basis.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

The Labor Education Specialist is responsible for the following duties, including but not limited to:

1. Knowing how adults acquire and use knowledge, skills and attitudes; understanding individual differences in learning.

2. Selecting and using audio visual hardware and software and ability to use computers technology.

3. Identifying the knowledge and skill requirements of officers, stewards, grievance representatives and members.

4. Planning and coordinating logistics in an efficient and cost effective manner. Able to accept responsibility for facility planning and coordination with regional and local representatives. Responsible for all areas of participant materials production and distribution.

5. Communicating opinions, observations and conclusions with the Director, professional and support staff and the membership such that they are understood both in a written and verbal format.

6. Knowing key concepts and variables that define public and private sector labor relations, including the NLRB, Taylor Law, collective bargaining, contract administration and the duty of fair representation.

7. Recognizing, exploring and using a broad range of ideas and practices from all sources. Thinking logically and creatively without undo influence from personal bias.

8. Gathering information from printed and other recorded sources. Identifying and using information specialists and reference services. Able to work independently in producing education materials.

9. Developing practical frameworks which explain complex ideas in understandable and usable ways.

10. Presenting information to large and small groups using appropriate formats and materials.

11. Knowing and using the techniques and methods used in training and understanding their appropriate uses, including the development of needs assessments and other instruments that measure needs, interests and/or performance.

12. Preparing written material which follows generally accepted rules of style and form and is appropriate for the audience, creative and accomplishes its intended purpose.

13. Traveling extensively (on weekdays and weekends) throughout New York State to accomplish these responsibilities and other duties as may be required by the Department.

14. Able to produce timely and accurate materials.

15. Serving as a back‐up to other Department staff, during critical work periods or in covering planned activities of the Department.

16. Performing other responsibilities/duties as required that pertain to the education and training of the leadership and activists of CSEA.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university in human resources, labor relations, political science, public administration or other related field as determined by CSEA,Inc., and a minimum of eighteen months of acceptable full‐time experience in providing direct labor relations service, preferably in education and training, in a unionized environment.

OR

Associates degree in human resources, labor relations, political science, public administration or related field as determined by CSEA, Inc., and a minimum of three and a half years of acceptable full‐time experience in providing direct labor relations service, preferably in education and training, in a unionized environment.

OR

High school diploma or equivalent and a minimum of five years of acceptable full‐time experience in providing direct labor relations service, preferably in education and training, in a unionized environment. Experience in adult education is especially desirable. Certificate of Study in Labor Relations from an accredited college or university may be substituted, at the discretion of the employer, for some amount of acceptable full‐time experience in a unionized environment.

OR

A satisfactory equivalent combination of appropriate training and experience as determined by CSEA. Promotion to the Grade 18 position is based upon successful completion of two years of satisfactory performance as a Grade 15 as determined by the Director of Education and Training. Promotion to the Grade 20 position is based upon successful completion of two years of satisfactory performance as a Grade 18 as determined by the Director of Education and Training.

NOTE: Candidates must possess a valid New York State driver’s license and personal vehicle for business use in order to be appointed and continue in this position.

TO APPLY:

NOTIFY THE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT, IN WRITING, (WITH RESUME) OR VIA E‐MAIL TO STAFFPOSTINGS@CSEAINC.ORG NO LATER THAN CLOSE OF BUSINESS, OCTOBER 30, 2014.

143 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210

CSEA Local 1000 Hiring Statewide Organizer

JOB SUMMARY:

The incumbent reports to the Deputy Director of Organizing and the Director of Organizing. Responsibilities include all aspects of organizing campaigns and building the union.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

1. Performs all phases of organizing activities such as targeting, research, developing leads, progress assessment, recruitment, issue development, strategizing, escalating tactics, voter assessment, GOTV strategies ‐ with the objective of increasing CSEA’s membership.

2. Develops and applies a thorough working knowledge of labor and employment laws in the campaign setting, especially as pertains to exerting pressure on the employer.

3. Acts as lead organizer in campaigns including recruiting and educating volunteers, making assignments and ensuring accountability.

4. Gathers, analyzes, manages and uses data and information essential to organizing.

5. Builds internal and external (i.e. community) relationships and supports campaigns.

6. Performs related duties as required.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

A Bachelor’s Degree in labor relations or a related field three (3) years of responsible work experience in union organizing, union building, political or community organizing that demonstrates a planned approach to campaign development. A satisfactory combination of education, training and experience.

NOTE: Candidates must possess a valid New York State driver’s license and car for business use in order to be appointed.

Significant travel required.

TO APPLY:

NOTIFY THE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT, IN WRITING, (WITH RESUME) OR VIA E‐MAIL TO STAFFPOSTINGS@CSEAINC.ORG NO LATER THAN CLOSE OF BUSINESS, OCTOBER 30, 2014.

143 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210