All posts by Murphy Institute

Faculty Position in Labor Education at Penn State

The School of Labor and Employment Relations at The Pennsylvania State University invites applications for a non-tenure track faculty appointment at the Lecturer rank. The position will be a twelve-month appointment and will include a three-year renewable contract. Start date is negotiable. The School of LER is committed to providing union members and leaders with opportunities to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, both online and through traditional resident instruction. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to help the School aggressively move forward in this area.

The position will include some combination of responsibilities in several areas related to the School’s labor education mission. Among these are: promoting the School’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs to unions and union members; developing experiential learning assessment policies and practices for the School; working with union apprenticeship programs to develop pathways to Penn State’s online degree programs; working with community colleges to facilitate the transfer of credits to Penn State degree programs through articulation agreements and transfer guides; teaching in Penn State’s online degree program; and planning, administering, and teaching non-credit labor education programs.

Candidates should have experience working with unions on labor education programs and some expertise in the area of experiential learning assessment and a general understanding of best practices and trends in the field. Candidates should also be able to teach in the School’s undergraduate Labor and Employment Relations degree program. Applicants should possess a minimum of a Master’s degree in a relevant field.

The School of Labor and Employment Relations is a multidisciplinary program with large residential and online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, strong research programs, and growing outreach initiatives.

Candidates must electronically submit a letter of application and a curriculum vita. All candidates should request letters from three references to be sent directly to Trisha Everhart, Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Prof. Stephanie Luce on the Uber Ruling

In a potentially striking blow to the Uber-ization of the state’s economy, the California Labor Commission declared this week that a San Francisco-based Uber driver is an employee, and not an independent contractor, of the company. The implications of this ruling could be far-reaching, requiring the company to start offering benefits and protections to its drivers — which it has, until now, managed to skirt.

In an article by Amy Langfield on CBSMoneyWatch, Murphy Institute Prof. Stephanie Luce explains:

“Employers have been increasingly shifting the risks of the employment relationship onto workers – whether in the form of classification as independent contractor, or moving to on-call scheduling, shifting from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions (or to no pension at all), and so on […] Workers and worker organizations have been resisting and fighting back – not just in the U.S., but in other parts of the world (similar issues are happening in Europe – and Uber is also engaged in similar legal battles in many other countries).”

“I think the ruling is significant both because of its impact on such a large and growing global company (Uber), but also for the possible spillover effects to so many other industries that have been moving in the same direction of attempting to evade the legal responsibility of the employer/employee relationship[…]”

For the full article, visit CBSMoneyWatch.

Photo by noeltock via flickr (CC-BY-NC).

Department of Education – Community School Outreach Canvasser (NYC)

Job Title: Community School Outreach Canvasser
Division: Division of School Support
Office: Office of Community Schools
Period of Employment: July 2015 – August 31st, 2015
Contracted Through: School Professionals

Position Summary: The Outreach Canvasser will work with The Family and Community Outreach Team on community engagement strategies and outreach in order to elicit full parent and community participation in the development of the community school approach at the school. Among other responsibilities, Canvassers will be knocking on the doors of all Renewal School families to inform parents of the NYC community school initiative and recruit interested parents and caregivers to participate in their Community School Teams for the Fall of 2015.

Reports to: Family and Community Outreach Team Director

Direct Reports: N/A

Key Relationships: Family and Community Outreach Specialists, parents and caregivers, school leadership and staff, Community School Coordinator, Parent Coordinator, PTA/PA leadership, School Leadership Teams, community leaders, community partners and members.


● Meet daily and weekly metrics for door to door outreach and phone banking
● Work with outreach specialists to help carry out comprehensive outreach plans including phone calls and phone banks to parents, flyering neighborhoods, door-knocking etc.
● Conduct and model leadership development, including preparation of parents and communities for participation in above activities
● Set up infrastructures to help institutionalize the parent engagement and outreach methods conducted as part of the community school planning process
● Transition the school community to the appropriate DOE contact for future follow-up and engagement

Qualification Requirements:


1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college and two years of experience in community work or community centered activities in an area related to the duties described above; or
2. High school graduation or equivalent and / or four years of experience in community work or community centered activities in an area related to the duties as described above; or
3. Education and/or experience which is equivalent to “1” or “2” above. However, all candidates must have at least one year of experience as described in “1” above.


● Experience in door to door outreach and / or phone banking.
● Interest in parent, student and/or community organizing, working with school communities
● Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
● Experience in data entry
● Fluency in Spanish or other foreign language a plus.
● Experience in New York City public school system is a plus.


● Able to walk 2 to 4 miles a day
● Willingness to work evenings and weekends
● Organized and detail oriented with the ability to multi-task, analyze and drive process improvement.
● Strong interpersonal skills.

To apply email resume and cover letter to

White Allies, Challenging Racism

By Rebecca Lurie

Sarah Jaffe’s “Challenging Racism at Work” brought to mind for me all the ways white people can take the challenge. This short news item shares what happened when a white cop decided to stand up and #EndWhiteSilence. I applaud the stance and recognize that we all can do this every day. Standing up against racism is not only for those in the most charged environments of “law enforcement.” Certainly, as the Chief of Police in Pittsburgh — and with social media behind him — Cameron McLay had a big role to share with the world. But to widen the lens: when the Murphy Institute, along with CUNY and local unions, decided to develop and design the Scholarship for Diversity in Labor, this too expanded the space in which we begin to challenge racism at work.

Continue reading White Allies, Challenging Racism

Challenging Racism at Work

This post was originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of New Labor Forum

By Sarah Jaffe

Cameron McLay became chief of police in Pittsburgh in September 2014, tasked by new mayor Bill Peduto with cleaning up the department, after its former chief wound up in federal prison for corruption. This put him in charge at a time when the Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the country, calling for an end to police brutality, racial profiling, and the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police officers. When the chief met some of those activists, with the group What’s Up?! Pittsburgh, at community festivities, he posed, in uniform, for an Instagram photo with one of their signs. It read: “I resolve to challenge racism @ work. #EndWhiteSilence.” The photo looked to many like a rare example of a police officer supporting the message of the protesters — the mayor told reporters that he immediately reposted the picture to his own Facebook page.

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25 Years Later: Lessons from the Organizers of Justice for Janitors

This article originally was originally published on TalkPoverty.

By Jono Shaffer & Stephen Lerner

On June 15, 1990, the Los Angeles Police Department viciously attacked immigrant janitors who were striking for the right to organize in Century City, Los Angeles. In a story that is now all too familiar, the police claimed they were defending themselves. Only later, when TV news footage exposed the police clubbing non-violent strikers, was the self-defense claim discredited. Two women miscarried, dozens were hospitalized, and 60 strikers and supporters were jailed.


Continue reading 25 Years Later: Lessons from the Organizers of Justice for Janitors