Last Friday, together with the New York City Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, we gathered with Jose La Luz, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan and Nelson Denis to discuss H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), looking at the history of Puerto Rico’s economic crisis and the impact of PROMESA on the people.
We also examined the possibility of a federally created Fiscal Control Board for Puerto Rico in the Spring 2016 issue of the New Labor Forum, with a piece by Jennifer Wolff, senior program director at the Center for a New Economy, on the fiscal and economic crisis and its impact on labor unions. We invite you to revisit that piece and continue the conversation.
Debtors’ Island: How Puerto Rico Became a Hedge Fund Playground
“You could call it a perfect storm: a fiscal crisis converging with a deep secular economic decline. Once touted as the showcase of U.S.- led economic development, debt-strapped Puerto Rico is currently embroiled in a struggle for survival. During the mid-twentieth century, Puerto Rico grew at a rapid pace, betting on cheap labor, privileged duty-free access to the U.S. market, and tax incentives for U.S. companies. By the 1970s, however, the formula had lost steam and the government turned to ever-more crafty means to keep the economy and itself afloat by seeking new federal tax exemptions for U.S. firms, obtaining additional transfers in federal funds, increasing government employment, and issuing public debt in ever-larger amounts. By the year 2000, the government ran on ever-larger deficits. The dance came to a screeching halt in 2014, when Puerto Rico’s debt was degraded to junk status and the island was effectively shut out of the financial markets. Read more.
New York City Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement & The Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies Present
Puerto Rico: Facts and Realities of Living Under PROMESA
Jose La Luz is credited as a key strategist and architect of the campaign for passage of Law 45, granting bargaining rights for over 120,000 public employees in Puerto Rico. He is the Public Policy Director of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and a veteran trade unionist.
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan@lyciaora is a human rights lawyer who works on the intersection of racial and gender justice in both domestic and international contexts. She is president of the National Lawyers Guild and Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
Nelson Denis@NelsonADenis is the author of “War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror In America’s Colony.” He is an attorney, playwright, film director, and former representative to the NYS Assembly.
Please join Melissa Hoover from Democracy at Work Institute and Rebecca Lurie from the Murphy Institute as we gather with workforce training professionals and cooperative developers to discuss, debate and strategize on the efficacy and potential for worker-owned coops to create good jobs and healthy community economic development. Steven Dawson, (visiting Fellow at The Pinkerton Foundation and former president of PHI) and Adria Powell, (Executive Vice President and President-elect of Cooperative Home Care Associates) each have spent years developing this work in the Bronx and in the home care industry. They will help us to dig deep into these approaches that lift the floor for jobs standards and lift the spirit for workers as they become owners and exercise control in their workplace.
Cooperative Home Care Associates is the largest worker-owned business in the nation, with over 2,300 worker-owners in the Bronx. Over 15 years ago they signed a contract with SEIU1199 and are also the largest union represented worker coop in America. While the movement for worker-ownership grows and expands with support from our city government, we will have the chance to ask hard questions, challenge our thinking and together think about the direction this strategy can take towards more just work place and better businesses.
Democracy at Work Institute expands the promise of cooperative business ownership to communities most directly affected by social and economic inequality. The Institute is the only national organization dedicated to building the field of worker cooperative development, with a focus on scale and equity. It meets a growing need for research, coordination of existing resources, development of standards and leaders, critical discussion of models, and advocacy for worker cooperatives as a community economic development strategy.
The Joseph S. Murphy Institute Center for Labor, Community and Policy Studies at the City University of New York serves as a resource center to labor, academic, and community leaders seeking a deeper understanding of labor and urban issues. The Center designs workforce development programs in partnership with unions and their labor-management training funds. The institute has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies and Master’s programs in Labor and Urban Studies. The Community and Worker Ownership Project is designing education and training programs for cooperative ownership and community engagement. RSVP by November 11th.
On March 11th and 12th, the Murphy Institute hosted The Next System Project NYC, an incredible two days filled with workshops, panels and discussion around the question:
If the current system isn’t working, then what comes next? And how can we get there?
Over 500 people came through to join in the conversation, where we dug into topics including alternatives to incarceration, community land trusts, reinvestment networks, alternative currencies, building low carbon cities, open source technology, social movements and much more. Check out some highlights from the event in this short video.
This forum will examine the transformation of work at Uber, a leader in the burgeoning “gig economy.” Advocates of this new model argue that the “gig economy” offers flexibility and allows for much greater worker autonomy. And, in the case of Uber, they contend that the company has provided jobs and taxi service to the outer boroughs and to underserved communities. Yet, how is this new model affecting the system of worker rights and employer responsibilities? How does the new technology associated with this model dictate wages and working conditions? Uber and its ilk merit special scrutiny in light of their potential role in rewriting legal and legislative precedents in other workplaces and industries.
James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute
Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance
Katie Unger, former Deputy Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, consultant, writer and longtime New York labor activist.
On International Women’s Day, this networking event will be an opportunity for Murphy Institute students and alumni to speak with successful women (and men) from a variety of fields in order to help better understand how to improve their careers.
Light refreshments will be provided.
Practice and Improve your networking skills
Find out what potential employers are looking for when hiring