All posts by Murphy Institute

Cities Are Embracing the Worst Idea to Come Out of Ferguson

This article was originally posted in Quartz.

By Basil Smikle Jr.

Earlier this week, Missouri governor Jay Nixon ended the curfew imposed on the community of Ferguson over the weekend. Residents had been required to be indoors between midnight and 5 am.

It’s not surprising but it’s one of many moves authorities got wrong in their reaction to riots over the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The toxicity of curfews in the St. Louis suburb sparked additional and perhaps retaliatory unrest. The governor’s decision to restrict the movement of Ferguson’s mostly black population exacerbated long-simmering anger toward law enforcement, roiled community leaders, and extended confrontations with residents. Establishing this curfew was only one of many missteps by a clearly overwhelmed police department.

And yet, alarmingly, the tactic itself is gaining acceptance in major American cities.
Continue reading Cities Are Embracing the Worst Idea to Come Out of Ferguson

What’s Next for NYU Graduate Students Union?

In a recent article published in Labor Notes, Natasha Raheja, a third-year PhD student in Anthropology at New York University and a member of GSOC-UAW, celebrates the recent win for NYU’s graduate students, who, she writes, “are poised to again become the only private sector student workers with a union contract in the U.S.”

She then challenges her union to go further than it has,

“calling for more transparency and for building strength through member participation. We want to revive our organizing committee, hold biweekly open member meetings, and send members regular detailed updates. We want to end closed-door negotiations without student workers present and promptly replace our three resigned bargaining committee members.”

She explores some of the recent internal issues she sees the union facing — including a narrow focus and a lack of democracy — before concluding that:

“As the first unionized graduate student workers at a private university in the United States, we at NYU have the opportunity to create a model, good or bad. A member-led contract victory will reverberate across the academic labor movement.”

Read Raheja’s full statement at Labor Notes.

Photo by Michael Gould-Wartofsky via Labor Notes

Furee Seeks Community Organizer

Application Deadline: September 5th, 2014

FUREE is looking for an experienced community organizer with a solid background in organizing in low-income and working class communities of color and a demonstrated capacity to build grassroots leadership. Our campaigns include organizing against gentrification and for community-led accountable development, building the power of public housing residents to win rights and respect, and civic engagement in low-income and working class communities of color.

FUREE is a multi-racial, women-led membership organization in Brooklyn, New York. FUREE is organizing to build a strong base of low-income women of color to build power to change the system so that all peoples’ work is valued and everyone has the right and means to rise out of poverty. Our guiding principle is that the people who are directly impacted by the policies we are seeking to change should lead the organization.


  1. Base Building: The Organizer will recruit members utilizing various methods including one to one meetings, public outreach, etc; maintain recruitment and contact records, assess potential members and meet turn out goals to meetings, actions and other organizational activities.
  2. Leadership Development: FUREE believes that those who are directly impacted by public policy and practices should lead the organization. The Organizer will identify potential and emerging leaders from our membership, create individual leadership development plans with current and emerging leaders that will build their political framework and community organizing skills including participation in political education. The Organizer will encourage participation and building organizational ownership amongst members.
  3. Campaign Development: Build strong, active campaign committees to scale and scope including working with members to lead community mobilization efforts, campaign strategy and research and co-facilitating quarterly power-mapping with leaders to evaluate campaign progress. The Organizer will also be responsible for organizing media work on the campaign including training members on framing, messaging and obtaining media coverage.

Other tasks:
Collaborate with other staff and members on organizational activities, events, and meetings; recruiting campaign members to contribute to organizational communications; engage in grassroots fundraising activities; preparing periodic reports of activities and utilizing political, professional and personal development opportunities provided by FUREE.


  • Four or more years of strong community and/or labor organizing experience, preferably with low-income communities and a demonstrated capacity to effectively carry out the above responsibilities
  • Two or more years of strong experience of leadership development and political education training facilitation
  • A well developed personal framework/theory of social change and a strong commitment to racial and economic justice as well as to FUREE’s mission
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Brooklyn or New York City’s political, social and economic climate
  • Demonstrated knowledge of accountable development organizing frameworks
  • Ability to communicate, motivate and listen to people from all walks of life
  • Ability to work independently, as part of team and in coalitions
  • Experience with grant writing, reporting and grassroots fundraising
  • Strong writing skills including messaging and framing for various audiences
  • Ability to work evenings/weekends as necessary
  • Computer literate particularly Microsoft Office and data basing application
  • Bilingual English/Spanish preferred

Compensation: This is a full time position with a competitive salary, health and dental benefits. Great opportunities for growth, development and leadership.

How to Apply: Send resume, cover letter, salary history and one personal and three professional references to or mail to 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Please type “Organizer Search” in the subject heading. In your cover letter, specify why you are interested in this particular job with FUREE.

Women of color, immigrants, differently-abled, and people of color from low-income Brooklyn neighborhoods or other NYC communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

We will respond ONLY to eligible applicants. Please do not call to inquire about application status.

Deadline to apply: Friday, September 5th 2014

Lead Organizer with Jobs to Move America in 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.


  • 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, including medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage.

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.

3 Positions at The Working World in NYC

The Working World is a non-profit offering a new way for people to take control of their economic lives and change the heart of the working equation. We turn the financial system on its head and offer socially conscious investment to businesses and factories owned and operated democratically by workers themselves. It’s an idealistic vision, but it’s not just an idea– we’ve been doing it for ten years in Argentina, Nicaragua, and now, the United States. We have lent over $4 million to over 200 worker cooperatives, and over 98% of these investments have paid themselves off, resulting in growing businesses, new jobs, and more workers in positions of ownership. Our goals are idealistic, and our methods are practical–we work for concrete results. Our aim is to see how far we can go: How many workers can be brought into positions of power in the system of production; how much finance can be given that empowers people rather than drowning them in debt; and how much can we challenge a global economy that puts profit before people.

The Working World is currently hiring for three positions for our office in New York City, New York:

  • Two project officers to expand our direct support to worker owned businesses.
  • An administrative coordinator to organize our office, manage our databases, and coordinate all administrative activities for our US work.

Project Officer – There are currently two openings in this position.
Two years ago, we started operations in the United States, replicating the model we developed in Argentina and Nicaragua. So far, it has been a success. We have made 20 loans totaling over $800,000. Now we are looking for two new core team members to help us scale this success and bring our model to even more cooperatives in the New York City area and beyond.

We’re looking for people who are equally motivated, idealistically minded and practically acting and who are open and eager to learn The Working World’s lending methodology. Candidates must also be organized self-starters and have the patience and drive to work toward longer-term goals.

Fluent Spanish is required.

Our target start date is November 2014 for two full-time positions in New York City.

Responsibilities include:

  • Engaging directly with workers of different cooperatives
  • Researching with them to prepare new investments and business plans
  • Conducting educative and practical assemblies
  • Following up on plans and problem-solving with cooperatives
  • Writing weekly progress reports
  • Working with organizational affiliates and government partners

How to apply
Email cover letter and resume to **Be sure to include “Program Officer” in the subject line of the email.**

New York, NY

Application deadline
October 1st, 2014 (Interviews will be conducted and positions will be filled on a rolling basis)

Education requirements – 4-year degree, or equivalent experience
Languages needed – Fluent in English, Fluent in Spanish
Employment type – Full time
Salary details – Salary commensurate with experience

Lead Office Administrator

The Lead Office Administrator will be responsible for the coordination of office operations, procedures and resources to facilitate the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. The Lead Office Administrator will report directly to the Director of Finance and Operations and will also work with other members of the team.

Our target start date is November 2014 for a full-time position in New York NY.

Responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining organization’s bookkeeping system and assisting Director of Finance and Operations with other financial and tax reporting requirements
  • Managing the organization’s payroll, including communicating with payroll service, distributing employee pay stubs, performing monthly payroll reconciliation
  • Responding to email traffic for the Executive Director and prioritizing and escalating issues in a timely manner
  • Assisting Director of Development with grant requirements, donor communications and constituent relationship management system.
  • Ensuring compliance with insurance regulations and other legal requirements
  • Monitoring and maintenance of office supplies and equipment
  • Performing banking duties such as depositing checks, preparing monthly bank reconciliations
  • Responding to and preparing legal documents (with supporting legal counsel, as necessary)
  • Collecting and distributing inbound mailings


  • Undergraduate degree with 2+ years of professional experience in an office support role
  • Ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-paced, rapidly growing organization
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated intermediate level proficiency in MS Office Suite
  • Bookkeeping experience a plus, but not required
  • Interest in cooperative development and in working with a global organization

How to apply
Email cover letter and resume to Be sure to include “Lead Office Administrator” in the email subject.

Location – New York, NY
Application deadline – October 1st, 2014 (Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis)
Education requirements – 4-year degree, or equivalent experience
Languages needed – Fluent in English, Basic Spanish a plus, but not necessary
Employment type – Full time
Salary details – Salary commensurate with experience