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Event: Promising Practices: Labor and Community Fighting Sexual Harassment in the Era of #MeToo (3/23)

Friday, March 23rd, 2018, 9am
The Murphy Institute
25 W 43rd Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY, 10036 


Friday, March 23, 9am-12:30pm
Co-sponsored by the Murphy Institute, CUNY and The Worker Institute at Cornell ILR

An interactive program bringing strategies, resources, and creativity together to create an equity framework for fighting harassment in the workplace and community.

9:00-9:15 am – Welcome and Intro Exercise

  • KC Wagner, The Worker Institute, Cornell ILR, NYC
  • Jenny DeBower, Center for Anti-Violence Education – Finding and Raising your Voice!

9:15-9:30 am – Cultural, Legal & Legislative Landscapes

  • Maya Raghu, National Women’s Law Center

9:30-9:40 am – Participant Witness and Share

9:40-10:40 am Panel – Promising Practices

  • Unions and Legislative Strategies – Sarah Lyons and Roushaunda Williams, UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago
  • Community and Union Engagement – Quentin Walcott, CONNECT
  • Leveraging Worker Voice – Catherine Barnett, ROCU and One Fair Wage
  • Catalysts for Change – Ana Avendaño, The United Way World Wide

10:40-10:50 am – Participant Pair Dialouge

10:50-11:20 am – Q & A with Panel

1:00-3:00pm– Break Out Sessions (These are concurrent sessions. See registration to join one; RSVP is needed in addition to the main program)

  • Break Out A: Upstander Training: Upstander workshops are designed to equip those facing hate and violence with de-escalation skills and basic self-defense techniques. Additionally, this training empowers bystanders with the tools they need to help those facing harassment by choosing intentionally from a continuum of tactics. These two approaches combined offer New Yorkers unique and critical options for keeping our communities as safe as possible and mitigating violence. Led by The Center for Anti-Violence Education
  • Break Out B: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: This presentation gives a general overview of discrimination in employment and then addresses the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace. The presentation coverers the form, impact and components of sexual harassment; liability; what can a victim or witness of sexual harassment do. In addition, case scenarios are presented for group discussion. Lastly, penalties, remedies and the Commission’s complaint process are explained. Led by NYC Commission on Human Rights

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 12th, 2018

The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

We break with our regular newsletter schedule to bring you a timely and important article on Italy’s 5 Star movement, whose spectacular victory in Italy’s March 4th election represents the most recent political upset contributing to Europe’s shifting political landscape. The U.S. press has tended to mischaracterize this resurgent political force. Rather than “a ragtag band of disaffected voters” (NYT, 3/5/18), M5S has its roots in left-wing populism and cyber democracy, and only more recently has become tangled up with the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment proliferating throughout Europe. New Labor Forum is making available to its readers now, ahead of print publication, an article by Richard Drake, entitled Left-Wing Populism Meets “La Grande Crisi,” that very usefully examines M5S.

Photo by Liwax via flickr (CC)

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 5th, 2018

The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

Recently released figures for 2017 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal a reversal in the decades-long decline in unionization rates. For those who have watched with chagrin the downward slope of union density, this appears to be a welcome bright spot. But not so soon, cautions Glenn Perusek in an essay for New Labor Forum. After all, the uptick is a small one, he notes, and perhaps better explained by new hiring in already unionized workplaces, than by massive new union organizing. The data does show an increase in young workers represented by unions, as well as new gains in unionization in white collar fields, including journalism and academia. NLF Consulting Editor and CUNY Sociology Professor Ruth Milkman makes sense of these trends in a WNYC interview with Todd Zwillich, included here.

Anyone concerned about organized labor’s prospects has noticed the dark cloud on the horizon in the form of the Janus v. AFSCME case, currently pending before the Supreme Court. This case threatens a body blow to public sector unionism if, as expected, it manages to abolish the mandatory “agency fees” that workers who don’t join the union currently pay to the unions that must represent them and negotiate their contracts, regardless. In his forthcoming NLF  column, Organized Money: What Is Corporate America Thinking?, Max Fraser devotes his attention to the big money interests that instigated the Janus case, and presently stand poised with sophisticated campaigns to convert public sector workers into “free riders” through opting out of union membership and associated dues. The right-wing foundations that have long pushed to weaken public sector unions by overturning the “agency fee” may, however, find they’ve gotten more than they’ve bargained for. So argues NLF regular Shaun Richman in a recent piece for The Washington Post. He suggests that the deal that brought about the “agency fee,” also contributed to labor peace, in the form of no-strike clauses and exclusive representation. In the post-Janus labor chaos Richman predicts unionists may find new possibilities for militant action, while conservatives may rue the day they brought it about.

Table of Contents

  1. U.S. Union Membership Data in Perspective/ Glenn Perusek, New Labor Forum
  2. How Unions Fracture Along Economic Lines/ Todd Zwillich with Ruth Milkman, The Takeaway, WNYC, Feb 1, 2018
  3. Organized Money: What is Corporate America Thinking?-Freedom’s Janus Face/Max Fraser, New Labor Forum
  4. If the Supreme Court rules against unions, conservatives won’t like what happens next/ Shaun Richman, The Washington Post, Mar 1, 2018 

Photo by Phil Roeder via flickr (CC-BY)

Stephanie Luce Interviews Annelise Orleck for Jacobin

With Janus placing public sector unions on the chopping block while West Virginia teachers stage a wildcat strike for their rights, what’s the right way to feel about the future of labor? Is the picture as bleak as we’ve been made to think, or might there be glimmers of hope portending a brighter future ahead?

Murphy Professor Stephanie Luce recently interviewed historian Annelise Orleck for Jacobin. Orleck’s new book  “We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now”: The Global Uprising against Poverty Wages is the result of her interviews with 140 workers around the world. The picture she paints offers room for some optimism and hope amid it all.

An excerpt from the interview is below. Read the full interview at Jacobin.

Stephanie Luce: You give quite a few inspirational stories, but most of the people you write about are living in pretty difficult conditions — whether it’s Walmart and fast-food workers in the United States, garment workers in Cambodia, or farmers in India. Some of the people you write about have been beaten, jailed — labor activists have been harassed, fired, kidnapped, and murdered. How are they winning?

Continue reading Stephanie Luce Interviews Annelise Orleck for Jacobin

Event: A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (3/7)

Wednesday, March 7th , 2018
12 pm-1pm
The Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., New York, NY
Room 18A

The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement firmly in the past, whitewashed the forces that stood in its way, and diminished its scope. And it is used perniciously in our own times to chastise present-day movements and obscure contemporary injustice.

In A More Beautiful and Terrible History award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects this national myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a strikingly different light. We see Rosa Parks not simply as a bus lady but a lifelong criminal justice activist and radical; Martin Luther King, Jr. as not only challenging Southern sheriffs but Northern liberals, too; and Coretta Scott King not only as a “helpmate” but a lifelong economic justice and peace activist who pushed her husband’s activism in these directions.

Moving from “the histories we get” to “the histories we need,” Theoharis challenges nine key aspects of the fable to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the movement; the work and disruption it took; the role of the media and “polite racism” in maintaining injustice; and the immense barriers and repression activists faced. Theoharis makes us reckon with the fact that far from being acceptable, passive or unified, the civil rights movement was unpopular, disruptive, and courageously persevering. Activists embraced an expansive vision of justice—which a majority of Americans opposed and which the federal government feared.

Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She is the author or coauthor of seven books and numerous articles on the history of the Black freedom struggle and on the contemporary politics of race in the United States. Theoharis’s New York Times best-selling biography The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks won the 2014 NAACP Image Award and the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

The Murphy Institute Welcomes New Staff

As the Murphy Institute prepares for the fall 2018 semester—our first as the CUNY School for Labor an Urban Studies—we are very pleased to announce four new appointments that will add luster to our already exceptional faculty and staff. Basil Smikle and James Steele have been appointed to our full-time faculty as Distinguished Lecturers in Politics and Public Policy. Stephen Greenfeld will assume the post of Academic Program Manager for Urban Studies. Warren Winter will be our new Information Technology Director, helping us advance our technical capacities as we make the transition from Institute to full-fledged CUNY School. Welcome all! Continue reading The Murphy Institute Welcomes New Staff