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Report: Labor and Longevity: Unions and the Aging Workforce

In recent years, the once-widespread practice of long-term career employment has been abandoned by most nonunion employers, replaced by what’s been described as a “much more open, just-in-time labor market” — one in which older workers are especially likely to be laid off. Pensions have been radically transformed, while the unionized share of the workforce has declined sharply, especially in the private sector, and the number of workers covered by multi-employer pension plans has fallen dramatically.

How can we make sense of this changing landscape for aging workers?

Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Ed Ott recently released a report called “Labor and Longevity: Unions and the Aging Workforce.” In it, they explore the relationship between aging workers and union organizing nationwide and in New York City, offering recommendations for how unions can defend and negotiate for benefits that meet the needs of all of their workers.

Read the full report here.

 

Video: Immigration Politics in the Trump Era

On May 11th, the Murphy Institute hosted an all-day conference assessing the unfolding immigration crisis, highlighting the perspectives of labor unions, worker centers, community organizations, and local government.

The Trump administration’s efforts to restrict immigration, expand deportations, thwart sanctuary cities, and intensify border enforcement mark dramatic shifts in immigration politics and policies. This event convened a range of national and local experts and leaders to explore the implications of these national shifts, especially for local immigrant communities and the possibilities for resistance.

Missed the event or want to experience it again? Check out full recordings of the panel discussions below.


PART I: Background and Context

Speakers:

  • Muzaffar Chishti – Migration Policy Institute, Director of MPI’s office at NYU School of Law
  • Mae Ngai – Columbia University, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies
  • Moderator: Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center & Murphy Institute


PART II: Labor Responses

Speakers:

  • Esther Lopez – United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Secretary-Treasurer
  • Eliseo Medina – Service Employees International Union, Former International Secretary-Treasurer
  • Gonzalo Mercado – National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), New York City Regional Coordinator, and Executive
  • Director at La Colmena – Staten Island Community Job Center
  • Javaid Tariq – New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Co-Founder and Senior Staff
  • Modesta Toribio – Make the Road New York, Senior Organizer
  • Moderator: Ed Ott, Murphy Institute/CUNY, Distinguished Lecturer of Labor Studies


PART III: Community and Local Government Responses

Speakers:

  • Anu Joshi – NY State Immigrant Action Fund, Deputy Director
  • Abraham Paulos – Families for Freedom, former Executive Director
  • Donna Schaper – Judson Memorial Church, Senior Minister
  • Monica Sibri – CUNY DREAMers, Founder, and New York Fellow at IGNITE National
  • Moderator: Els de Graauw, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Baruch College-CUNY

AT&T Workers Prepare to Strike

If they haven’t won a contract by 3pm today, 40,000 AT&T workers will go on strike. Coming on the heels of last year’s Verizon strike, this marks another potentially historic action for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) — and the workers have much cause for grievance. From David Bacon at In These Times:

In California and Nevada, around 17,000 AT&T workers who provide phone, landline and cable services have been working without a contract for more than a year. Last year, they voted to authorize a strike with more than 95 percent support. And in February, an estimated 21,000 AT&T Mobility workers in 36 states voted to strike as well, with 93 percent in favor.

Workers have issued an ultimatum, giving company executives until 3 p.m. ET on Friday to present serious proposals—or the workers will walk.

It wouldn’t be the first strike at AT&T. Some 17,000 workers in California and Nevada walked off the job in late March to protest company changes in their working conditions in violation of federal law. After a one-day strike, AT&T agreed not to require technicians to perform work assignments outside of their expertise. Nevertheless, the biggest issues for workers remained unresolved.

Bacon continues:

AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the country with $164 billion in sales and 135 million wireless customers nationwide. It has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the United States since 2011, representing more than 30 percent of its call center employees, and closed more than 30 call centers. Meanwhile, the company has outsourced the operation of more than 60 percent of its wireless retail stores to operators who pay much less than the union wage, according to CWA.

Read the full article at In These Times.

Featured photo by Mike Mozart via flickr (CC-BY).

Event: Building Bridges Across the Generation Gap (5/19)

Date: May 19th, 2017
Time: 4:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor

REGISTER HERE

Believe it or not, Millennials and Baby Boomers have much in common, especially when it comes to the changing U.S. political economy. Join us for an intergenerational happy hour discussion unpacking the impact of America’s fractured social safety net across generations.

It’s no secret that today’s young adult generation faces unprecedented financial insecurity. Compared to when Baby Boomers were young, Millennials (born 1980 and after) have lower incomes, less savings, and lower net worth. They are also disproportionately likely to be uninsured, underemployed, or unemployed, and many are saddled with unprecedented levels of student debt. Continue reading Event: Building Bridges Across the Generation Gap (5/19)

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 15, 2017

The New Labor Forum has launched 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.

One of the enduring conversations of the 2016 election is the significance of the white working- class Trump vote. According to some pundits, this vote drew much of its impetus from economic decline characteristic of the rust belt. New Labor Forum’s Michael Zweig writes about White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics. One major issue he raises is the difficulty of identifying precisely what we mean by ‘working-class,’ as well as the extent to which class anxiety versus racial animosity motivated their support for Trump. An excellent data-filled companion piece is the PRRI/The Atlantic report on the WWC. Using large data sets and prominent academic researchers, this report indicates that economic fatalism predicted support for Trump, while economic hardship predicted Clinton support. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post focuses on a specific demographic: the swing voters who moved from Obama to Trump. This group played an outsize role in the 2016 elections. What are they telling Democrats?

The economic nationalism and xenophobia that motivated some working-class Trump supporters has found distinct articulations throughout Europe. The failure of European center and center-left parties to take a stand against the ravages of neo-liberalism has buoyed right-wing populism. Edouard Louis has written a moving essay about the recent French elections describing the feelings of neglect many working-class voters have experienced at the hands of the governing Socialist Party and expect under Macron’s centrist banner En Marche!. This fact, he contends, lead many of them, like his working-class father, who sense their own invisibility to vote for Marine Le Pen.

Table of Contents

  1. White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics / Michael Zweig, New Labor Forum
  2.  Beyond Economics: Fears of Cultural Displacement Pushed the White Working Class to Trump / Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones / PRRI, The Atlantic
  3. Why Did Trump Win? New Research by Democrats Offers Worrisome Answer / Greg Sargent, New York Times
  4. Why My Father Votes for Le Pen / Edouard Louis, New York Times

Photo by Lorie Shaull via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Event: Diversity Scholarship Awards & Reception (5/25)

The annual Joseph S. Murphy Diversity in Labor Scholarship, Awards & Reception will take place May 25, 6-8:30pm at the CUNY Graduate Center, Elebash Recital Hall at 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016.

Join us as we introduce our 2017 scholarship recipients, who will commence their studies in the 2017-2018 academic year. We’ll also be honoring rising labor and community leaders whose efforts to win rights for under-represented workers have been marked by extraordinary dedication and commitment: Modesta Toribio of Make the Road and Kendall Fells of Fight for $15.

Modesta Toribio, Senior Organizer, Make the Road New York

Modesta Toribio is a Senior Organizer at Make the Road New York. In that capacity, she directs the organization’s Workplace Justice project, which organizes workers to fight against daily abuses they face on the job. In her work, Modesta advises workers about their rights on the job and mobilizes support for coalitional campaigns, including the Fight for $15 and movements against wage theft.  Modesta started as an organizer with the WASH New York campaign, which sparked the fight to improve working conditions in the car wash industry throughout New York City. In June 2016, she helped workers in four New York and New Jersey car wash establishments win $1.6 million in a wage-theft law suit. Since then, her work has contributed to changing the lives of countless exploited workers. Modesta’s work has been recognized in the mainstream media, including The New York Times which celebrated her work with “carwasheros” in our community. Modesta holds a Degree in teaching from the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA) in the Dominican Republic. In addition to putting limitless hours into her work for social justice, Modesta Toribio is also raising two children.

Kendall Fells, National Organizing Director, Fight for $15

Kendall Fells is National Organizing Director of Fight for $15, the movement of fast-food, home care, child care and other underpaid workers fighting for $15 an hour and union rights. In 2012, Kendall trained a team of new community organizers who helped to mobilize the first-ever strike of fast-food workers, which took place in New York City. Months later, he helped to organize a second New York City strike, which brought twice as many workers onto the streets as the initial walkout. These two strikes ultimately sparked a broad movement for $15 an hour and union rights that has spread to 320 cities around the U.S. and 40 countries. That movement has been embraced by the Black Lives Matter movement as well as by unions around the country.

Fight for $15 has been extraordinarily successful in convincing voters, politicians, and corporations to raise pay. Since 2012, Fight for $15 has spurred wage hikes for 22 million underpaid workers, including more than 10 million who are on their way to $15 an hour. Kendall Fells has appeared as a spokesperson for Fight for $15  on numerous news outlets, including  MSNBC, CBS News, and Fox News.

Donations and tickets purchases can be made here.