All posts by Murphy Institute

The World Cup: Panem et Circenses et Transit (Killjoy Alert!)

Kafui Attoh is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute.

The World Cup is upon us! All praise be to FIFA! In less than a week, millions of people worldwide will tune into what promises to be the largest global bread and circus event of the year. Indeed, an estimated half a million fans will descend on Brazil itself — no doubt, to partake in the spectacle first hand. As is now common with these mega events, the World Cup boasts its own theme song — a predictably forgettable anthem by J-Lo and Pitbull called “We Are One (Ole Ola).” It will also have its own cuddly mascot — Fuleco, an anime-inspired “three-banded Armadillo.” Reportedly, Fuleco is modeled on an endangered species native to Brazil.

With all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, the World Cup is a big deal. For the host nation, the finances alone are absurd. Since “winning” the right to host the tournament seven years ago, Brazil has spent $11.3 billion on Cup related infrastructure projects. Many of these projects — despite the desperate need for hospitals and better transit — have been limited to new arenas and new stadiums. An additional $800 million has been spent on security alone as roughly 170,000 security personnel have been dispatched across the country to regulate crowds and secure arenas. “Ordem without Progresso,” as Brazilians might say.

Continue reading The World Cup: Panem et Circenses et Transit (Killjoy Alert!)

G.E.O. Full-Time Union Organizer & Full-Time Community Organizer (2 positions)

Graduate Employees’ Organization, IFT/AFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO Champaign, Illinois, USA

Summary:
The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks to hire:
➔ A permanent full-time Union Organizer. This position is funded by membership dues.
➔ A full-time Community Organizer. This position is newly developed and grant-funded,and we have secured funding for 1 year. We will work with the new community organizer to secure funding for a second year and strive to make this position a permanent one.

The target start date for both positions is August 2014. Both organizers will work with members of the union and community allies to increase our collective power and win economic and social justice campaigns. The Union Organizer will focus more on internal membership organizing and the Community Organizer will focus more on solidarity campaigns with social justice organizations and other unions. However, internal union organizing and external solidarity organizing will be a component of both positions. The Community Organizer (as part of a union) is a unique and rare position, and in the long term we hope to replicate this model in other unions (such as grad employee locals) in Illinois and around the country.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) represents approximately 2,800 Teaching and Graduate Assistants employed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is a member-led union with a paid professional staff that works under the direction of elected, volunteer officers. The GEO is a democratic, activist, and social justice union with a strong sense of solidarity and active community involvement.
In 2009, the GEO led a two-day strike with over 1,000 members (one of 5 largest strikes in the US that year), and more recently in 2012, the GEO prepared for a strike but was able to secure a fair contract before that happened.

The GEO has also participated in various community and campus campaigns such as:
● Increasing protections for nursing mothers, parents of various genders, access to health benefits for LGBTQ partners of employees, etc.
● Raising the grad minimum wage in excess of inflation and protecting tuition waivers.
● Advocating against racist imagery such as the “Chief” as the UIUC mascot.
● Fighting for immigrant rights, including expelling federal deportation agents from the Champaign County Jail, and preventing them from being able to divide families here.
● Stopping the expansion of a 20-million dollar jail that would have disproportionately affected African-American residents, and also fighting for a re-entry program.
● Work with student organizations to add gender confirmation surgery to the student insurance plan.
● Organizing in solidarity with other unions to fight against candidate for IL Governor Bruce Rauner, who is running on a campaign similar to Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, and who we fear will undermine our rights as organized workers and attack our union.

Both the Union Organizer and the Community Organizer will actively organize, recruit, and foster economic and social justice activism of this nature.

Job Duties (Community Organizer): 
● General Job Duties: Organize campaigns with student and community organizations, and other unions. Examples: minimum wage, student debt, immigrant rights, racial justice, gender equity, etc.
● Short-term Job Duties (next 6 months): Help build a progressive and social justice coalition of activists from a variety of local unions around Central Illinois. Coordinate efforts during the upcoming election to win candidate and issue campaigns. Organize a massive Get Out The Vote campaign. Help defeat anti-union candidate Rauner.
● Long-term Job Duties: Build and reinforce our labor-community coalition. Engage a diverse group of union members and community allies in social justice issues. Foster solidarity between union, community, and student groups. Fundraise for position.

Job Duties (Union Organizer):
● Build and activate GEO members. Recruit and train members into leadership positions.
● Help GEO leadership plan and implement union activities such as social events, general membership meetings, rallies, volunteer nights, and work-actions.
● Represent the GEO to the UIUC admin, to other unions, and to community groups.
● Help with contract negotiation and enforcement, including finding and filing grievances, assisting the bargaining team, and research.

Job Duties (Both):
● Build and activate involvement through townhall meetings, office visits, home visits, departmental events, membership drives, work actions, campaigns, etc.
● Recruit and train union members and community allies into leadership positions.
● Help GEO, unions, and community organizations plan and implement campaigns.
● Help maintain accurate records of union activities, members, database, etc.
● Help with communications, including writing/editing press releases, designing flyers and brochures, taking meeting minutes, and developing other materials.

Qualifications:
● At least one year of organizing experience
● Ability to manage multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment
● Excellent verbal communication skills
● Ability to use word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and social media
● Strong one-on-one organizing skills
● Flexible schedule; ability to work evenings and/or weekends as needed

Preferred Qualifications:
● A Bachelor’s degree or higher
● Experience as a graduate student/employee, or other contingent employment.
● Experience working as an organizer for a labor union or a volunteer-run organization
● Experience organizing membership drives, work-actions, direct action, civil disobedience, marches, etc.
● Experience working in communities of color, on social justice campaigns, as well as worker’s rights campaigns, and/or Get Out The Vote campaigns.

Application Process:
To apply please send your cover letter, resume, and contact information to geo<at>uigeo<dot>org. Also provide names and contact information for at least two references. Please email geo<at>uigeo<dot>org if you have questions. In order to ensure full consideration, applications materials must be received by July 2, 2014.  Applications will be considered after this date on a case-by-case basis. In your cover letter, describe your experience working in labor organizations, social justice organizations, and your experience working with communities of color, and/or otherwise marginalized or low-income communities. You can apply for either the union organizer or the community organizer position, or both (please clarify this in your cover letter). The letter length is whatever you deem appropriate.

Salary and Benefits:
$58,451 annually, health, dental, and vision benefits. Other benefits include retirement funds, financial support for student and/or medical debt, vacation days, as well as mileage, parking and a work cellular phone plan or subsidy. Both positions are covered by the GEO Staff Union contract. Staff members negotiate their benefits as a union with the GEO.
Caveat for Community Organizer position: The Community Organizer position is currently grant-funded for 1 year. Its duration beyond 1 year is contingent on acquiring further funding. The GEO is interested and actively involved in securing more funding for the position, and will work with the new employee toward that goal.

Affirmative Action Statement:
The GEO is an AA/EEO employer. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply. Furthermore, the GEO is a social justice union that is committed to increase the participation of women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals in all aspects of the union. The GEO is also committed to organizing in solidarity with community members around a variety of issues that deal with racial, economic, and gender justice.
For those reasons, the GEO encourages all applicants to use the cover letter, resume, references, or an additional info sheet in a format and length of your choosing, to disclose any information (voluntarily) as it relates to:
1. Any relevant facts about the applicant’s identity as it relates to the applicant’s experience organizing around racial, gender, and economic justice;
2. Any past experiences organizing to address issues of racism, sexism, homophobia,classism, etc, and how that organizing experience empowered those people who are directly affected by institutionalized discrimination (women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, etc), and put those affected individuals at the forefront of organizing efforts.
3. Your potential future role as you see it as an organizer with the GEO and how you would address institutional forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

The GEO has historically organized around social justice issues, and is committed to continuing that tradition and in any way possible increase those efforts. The GEO encourages applicants to share similar organizing experiences and goals. Sharing this information is voluntary. Applicants should share as much information as they deem relevant to the job. Preference will be given to applicants who exhibit experience, passion, and an ongoing desire to overcome institutional and interpersonal forms of discrimination.

Congratulations to our Labor Studies MA Graduates!

Last night we celebrated the MA graduation of twenty-four students in the Labor Studies Program. There was a strong feeling of accomplishment and happiness among students, faculty, and staff, who are all very proud of our student body.  They are not only very accomplished and committed to advance social justice, but also incredibly diverse: they come from varied national, cultural and ethnic backgrounds; they represent almost every generational group, and they work for a wide-array of organizations making an impact on the labor movement in the area.

Our 2014 Labor Studies graduates are: Ruth Basantes, Jonathan Beatrice, Samuel Bick, Pauline Boothe, Stephen Cheng, Daniel Corum, Irene Dess, Yolanda Dunn, Lydia Edmunds, William Fitzpatrick, Helen Foreman-Hines, Pamela Galpern, Thisanjali Gangoda, Dorla Grant, Eric Kaufman, Elaine Kitt, David Kranz, Ryan Lum, Jameelah Muhammad, Eduardo Rosario, Patrick Shepherd, Florence Wong, Christine Wong, and Han Chun Xin.

UNITE HERE Seeks Campaign Researchers

CAMPAIGN RESEARCHERS:
Local and International Union Positions

These Campaign Researchers will conduct industry, corporate, customer, and political research, analyze information for strategic opportunities, and develop and carry out campaigns focused on winning justice for low wage, primarily immigrant workers. Our campaigns both organize non-union workers, and secure improved standards for existing union members.

Locations: Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Oakland, CA, Philadelphia, PA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, D.C
For more information (including how to apply): http://jobs.unitehere.org/job.php?job_id=3

UNITE HERE is a progressive labor union, fighting for dignity, living wages and affordable health care for low wage workers. UNITE HERE represents approximately 270,000 workers in the gaming, food service, hotels, textile, and industrial laundry industries throughout the United States and Canada.

UNITE HERE is known throughout the labor movement for deep investment in organizing and leadership development of workers, innovative and effective campaigns utilizing corporate campaign strategies, and mobilization of community allies to win justice in the service-sector (specifically, in hotels, gaming, and food service). Through organizing and winning good contracts, UNITE HERE members have made hundreds of thousands of traditionally low-wage jobs into good, family-sustaining, middle class jobs.
www.unitehere.org

Newark Students Sit-In to Protest Charter Schools

Dr. Stephen Brier is part of the Consortial Faculty at The Murphy Institute

The current political struggle over charter schools has often pitted poor parents and students of color against teacher unions. That division has a long and bitter history that can be traced back almost half a century to the divisive 10-week long strike in fall 1968 by the United Federation of Teachers against local community control efforts to improve the New York City public schools. That epochal struggle profoundly changed the city’s racial and ethnic politics. And over the past four decades the relationship between teachers unions and communities of color has frequently been marked by sharp disagreements and sometimes open battles about the best ways to improve the public schools.

The recent charter school movement has sought to take advantage of this breech between communities of color and the labor movement, using smart tactics and a lot of hedge fund and private capital funding to develop charter schools that use public money and public spaces for private gain, all under the guise of improving education by giving parents “school choice.” The charter school movement has been able to drive a wedge that keeps the forces fighting for vital educational transformation at odds with unionized teachers and their leaders.

But in Newark, New Jersey, students recently decided to take a forceful stand on this issue. They inserted themselves directly into the charter school struggle, staging a dramatic sit-in last week against the school superintendent, Cami Anderson, because of her uncritical support for charter schools in their city. When Anderson attempted to address a Newark school board meeting last week in support of expansion of charter schools, she was confronted by Newark Student Union President Kristin Towkaniuk, who shouted “We will not move until we have justice.” It’s important to remember that the Newark public schools received a huge $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2010, funds that were earmarked for expanding “school choice” in the troubled city. Newark students are telling Zuckerberg, Anderson and other charter school supporters loud and clear that charter schools are not the answer to the systemic problems with the city’s public school system.
Photo by Paul Sableman via flickr (CC-BY).

American Federation of Musicians Seeks Communications Coordinator

Position Description:

AFM Local 47 is the Los Angeles affiliate of the American Federation of Musicians, an international labor union of musicians across the United States and Canada. We are looking for a new full-time Communications Coordinator who will work directly with our Communications Director to assist with graphic design, website, social media pages, email newsletters, print and electronic communications, and photography.

The Communications Coordinator will fulfill graphic design and photography needs of all Local 47 publications and internal and external communications materials, including our monthly print publication Overture, bimonthly email newsletter The Local 47 Beat. Future long-term projects include building apps and developing a texting program for both member communications and internal communications.

We seek a candidate who not only knows media and new media, but also has good people skills and is a great communicator.

Responsibilities:

Graphic Design
Create and design graphics for internal (in-house forms, business cards, etc.) and external (brochures, advertisements, posters, banners, etc.) use. Required skills:
· Ability to create and/or format graphics for print and web.
· Excellent command of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign.
· Experience with branding, logo design, and advertisement creation.

Social Media
Be “the voice” of AFM Local 47 via web-based media. Required skills:
· Excellent command of Facebook/Twitter (using hashtags, accruing followers, etc.).
· Familiar with other realms of Social Media (LinkedIn, YouTube, apps, etc.).
· Knowledge of viral online marketing strategies.
· Ability to brainstorm and compile newsworthy items utilizing resources from Local 47, AFM, labor unions, and news outlets relating to musicians/union members in general.

Print Media
Assist the Communications Director with all outbound Local 47 print media, including big projects (monthly member newspaper Overture, annual Member Directory book, annual Wage Scale book, etc.) and miscellaneous smaller projects (advertisements, brochures, etc.). Required skills:
· Excellent written communication skills.
· Brainstorm and execute creative marketing campaigns, including web and print advertising and direct mail.

Email Blasts
Duties: Assist Communications Director to create and format material for bi-monthly email newsletter and various intermediate email campaigns using Mailchimp email client.
Required skills:
· Excellent command of English language and AP Style to write concise news items.
· Ability to design graphic elements on a tight deadline.

Website Maintenance
Regularly maintain and update existing website. Required skills:
· Strong command of Dreamweaver, WordPress, and using FTP.
· Basic HTML/CSS skills.
· Able to create fillable PDF forms using Adobe Acrobat Professional.
· Strong understanding of web and interactive design fundamentals.

Requirements:

· Must be technically experienced.
· Proficient in InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Acrobat Professional, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Dreamweaver, basic HTML/CSS skills, and knowledgeable in using online media platforms (e.g. social media).
· Must have a strong command of AP Style.
· Degree in Graphic Design, Media or related field preferred.
· Minimum of 2 years professional experience with emphasis graphic design or marketing.
· Strong sense of good elements of design and layout skills.
· Creative problem-solving skills, versatile and energetic.
· Flexible, detailed and deadline-oriented having to juggle a multitude of projects under time constraints.
· Must enjoy working collaboratively as well as independently.
· Self-disciplined; ability to prioritize in a fast-paced environment.

Salary: Commensurate with background, experience, and education.

Contact: Gary Lasley, Secretary/Treasurer, AFM Local 47
323.993.3160, gary.lasley<at>promusic47<dot>org