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Prof. Joshua Freeman Talks Taylor Law on the Brian Lehrer Show

On Wednesday, Murphy Prof. Joshua Freeman was on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show along with William Herbert, Executive Director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, to talk about the Taylor Law.

They discussed the history of the law, 50 years in, and its ramifications for public sector unionism. Take a listen here.

Photo by peopleworld via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

The Chief Features The Murphy Institute

The Chief-Leader is a New York City-based weekly newspaper focused on municipal government and civil servants, as well as issues affecting New York State and Federal employees. The most recent issue of the newspaper features an article about the Murphy Institute: “As Jobs’ Complexity Grows, Murphy Institute Helps Bridge Knowledge Gap: Union-Backed Center Polishes Skills, Broadens Education.” The article includes quotes from Henry Garrido (Executive Director of DC 37 and Murphy Advisory Board member), Ed Ott (Murphy Distinguished Lecturer) and several JSMI students.

From Henry Garrido:

“Over the next five years, 120,000 city workers will retire, and we really need the professional public employees that remain to be up to the challenges ahead.”

The article continues:

“To help weather the turbulence ahead, DC 37 is building on its long relationship with the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute. The institute was established in collaboration with city labor unions in 1984 at Queens College to serve the higher-education needs of working adults. It started with just 52 students, and today serves more than 1,500 who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. CUNY plans on elevating it to being one of the university’s schools by next fall.”

Check it out here.

What Happens If We Win?

This article was originally featured in Jacobin.

By Stephanie Luce

Despite our cynicism about electoral politics, the Left needs political parties. The Right’s rising power and momentum throughout the world gives us a stark reminder of the practical effects of our lack of a party of our own in the United States.Although it might feel like we’re starting from scratch, we can learn from real experiments. One example is Progressive Dane, a political party formed in 1992 in Madison, Wisconsin.

A New Party

Progressive Dane is named after Dane County, where Madison is located. The party began when Joel Rogers, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dan Cantor, a longtime political organizer, put forward the idea of a “New Party.”

The New Party hoped to revive fusion voting as tool for building a party. Fusion voting allows a candidate to run on two ballot lines, allowing voters to vote for a third party without feeling that their vote for that party was wasted or a “spoiler” in the election, doing little to build a viable political alternative but helping bring a potentially worse alternative to power — dilemmas that otherwise plague third parties under the American winner-take-all system. This allows the party to work inside and outside the Democratic Party at the same time. Continue reading What Happens If We Win?

TWU Proposes School Bus Coop

School bus maintenance and driving has long been a tricky business in New York City. In the face of mounting maintenance costs, excessive emissions and flatlining wages, the Transit Workers Union (TWU) has proposed a novel — and potentially transformative — solution for the city’s school buses.

This week, TWU international president John Samuelsen and Manhattan New York City Council member Daniel Garodnick outlined the plan in the New York Daily News:

Here’s our plan. Let’s establish a unionized, worker-owned cooperative to transport students in non-polluting (and air-conditioned) electric school buses. For the pilot, we envision the worker cooperative entering into a contract with the Board of Education to provide service on approximately 15 existing routes that are not permanently assigned to any private company. Continue reading TWU Proposes School Bus Coop

Why Labor and Campus Organizing Are Not a Zero Sum Game

This post originally appeared at Waging Nonviolence.

By Will Meyer

Popular left magazines have recently published articles that pit campus organizing against labor organizing. The broad stroke thinking by Amber A’Lee Frost in The Baffler and Freddie DeBoer in Jacobin suggests campus politics isn’t going to win material gains and that serious leftists should wage strategic labor battles as opposed to organizing students. While DeBoer does concede that organizing “absolutely should” happen on campus, he lists the pitfalls of student organizing — summer vacation, graduation, how busy students are and their need to get jobs, among other problems — to argue that campus organizing “isn’t going to work” as a movement’s primary organizing strategy. Frost, on the other hand, warns of rhetorical battles without demands that lack strategy and power. Her piece, titled “All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go,” paints a picture of academic writer-types bickering on Twitter and showing up to rallies that raise morale “but little else.”

This approach marks a stark contrast to that of the radical right, which — over the last generation — has weaponized campuses to serve their ideological agenda, dismantling public education using very effective organizing techniques. Continue reading Why Labor and Campus Organizing Are Not a Zero Sum Game

The Urbanization of Trade Union Struggle and Strategy

By Ian Thomas MacDonald

This is an abridged excerpt from Ian Thomas MacDonald’s new book, Unions and the City.

Many in labor studies have come to see our cities and suburbs as great laboratories of labor renewal. The relevance of this perspective can be glimpsed in the importance of resisting the dismantling of public education to the fate of a teacher strike in Chicago, for instance, or in the equally surprising success of citywide minimum wage campaigns across the United States. But these inspiring moments only hint at organized labor’s daily engagement with the life of the city, which we have found to be broader, deeper, and more complex than is commonly recognized. If we are right to believe that the future of the labor movement is an urban one, union activists and staffers, urban policymakers, elected officials, and members of the public alike will require a fuller understanding of what impels unions to become involved in urban policy issues, what dilemmas structure the choices unions make, and what impact unions have on the lives of urban residents, beyond their members.  Continue reading The Urbanization of Trade Union Struggle and Strategy