The Fall 2014 classes for the MA in Labor Studies are up! Check them out below.
Collective Bargaining Theory and Practice (LABR604) 3c
Instructor: Josh Bienstock
This course will provide students with a theoretical understanding of the collective bargaining process in the U.S. In addition to studying union and management theories of bargaining, students will analyze contemporary and historically significant bargaining scenarios in the private and public sectors and will develop advanced knowledge of labor relations in a variety of workplace environments. Students will examine the legal framework of collective bargaining and will study the evolution of public policy governing labor relations. In addition to studying the bargaining process and methods of contract enforcement, students will discuss alternative models of worker representation in a global economy. They will gain practical understanding by designing and participating in mock bargaining sessions.
Journalism, Media, and Labor (LABR669) 3c
Instructor: Ari Paul
In this course will explore all aspects of labor and how it intersects with the press: How it is covered by the mainstream, how unions present their own message and how activists use new media formats in organizing campaigns. Students will be expected study, examine, and evaluate how news outlets ranging from the tabloids to business journals to public radio cover contemporary labor issues. From there we can examine how unions succeed and fail at messaging with the mainstream media. And over the course of the semester, students will be expected to follow one local labor story and cover it as if they were working journalist, rather than a union organizer.
Crises in the Public Sector (LABR669) 3c
Instructor: Ed Ott
This course examines the contemporary issues and challenges facing the public sector workers and their organizations. In particular, the course will look at the recent state level attacks on public sector collective bargaining, privatization efforts in particular industries and the role back of the social safety net. Additionally, the course will examine the history and traditions of public employee unionism since the 1960s, review the present state of the public sector unions in the New York area, and consider possible organizational and political responses to today’s challenges.
Photo by ewe neon via flickr (CC-BY).
By Kitty Weiss Krupat
A brief profile of the American fashion designer, Elizabeth Hawes, appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine on Sunday, June 15. The essay, by Alice Gregory, is titled The Most Brilliant Fashion Designer, and it starts this way:
Introducing Elizabeth Hawes: genius writer, wry cultural commentator, perverse humorist, gifted artist and truly modern thinker. You’ve never heard of her.
Well, I, for one, have heard of her. She is the subject of my unfinished dissertation, and I agree. She was all those things. More people should know about her, and not just because she was a pioneering fashion designer or a “premature” second-wave feminist. Elizabeth Hawes was a life-long socialist, an ardent anti-fascist, a labor advocate, and an intellectual who was always interested in issues of class. In her work, she combined aesthetic principles with political economy to produce a unique vision of fashion design.
Continue reading Getting To Know Elizabeth Hawes, 1903-1971
By Nick Unger
“Insurgent movements are not the product of hard times; they are the product of insurgent cultures.” Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment
The generation that builds it really gets it; they were there. But what of those who come later? How do they get the word? This is not a problem unique to unions. Tribes, religions, nationalities and countries, gangs, armies and political groups, all need transmission structures, creation stories and rituals to solidify identity and make membership a cultural force.
Two rival acculturation paths: education/indoctrination and periodic upheaval. The Jesuits, the medieval guild and 19th century British education systems represent the institutional approach: “Give me a child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man.” Building trades union apprenticeship programs are perhaps the best labor example of this approach to development of a distinct identity and culture. Continue reading Thoughts on Union Structures, Labor History And Union Member Consciousness
By Eduardo Rosario
What is the history of the coalition between the labor movement and the environmental justice movement? To answer that question, I looked at labor’s activities on environmental issues in three time periods: 1948 to 1972, 1973 to the 1990s, and the 1990s to the present.
The labor movement took the lead on many environmental concerns between 1948 and 1972, because of the space labor occupied and the resources it mustered. Labor led the charge on such environmental concerns because the environmental justice movement was far smaller and did not command the level of resources labor possessed. With the relative economic prosperity of this time period U.S. labor was able to be inclusive of broader social justice issues such as the environment.
In the second period after 1973, facing massive job losses, labor shifted its priorities away from broader social concerns like the environment and began to take a more concessionary posture in collective bargaining. Economic pressures made union and non-union members alike feel vulnerable, and corporate America seized the opportunity.
Continue reading US Labor Combating Environmental Injustices: Organizing Locally and Globally
By Ella Mahony
Residents of Cambridge, MA often playfully call the city “The People’s Republic of Cambridge”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to its lefty politics and multicultural vibe. But the city is also well known for hosting a worldwide bastion of privilege and power, Harvard University. It is that paradox that is playing out right now at “Harvard’s Hotel”, the Hilton Doubletree Suites hotel owned by the university that lies only a mile away.
It is at the Doubletree that hotel workers have been organizing for a fair process to decide on a union with Unite-Here! Local 26, Boston’s hospitality and food service workers union. Leading the charge have been the female housekeepers that do most of the hotel’s drudge work, many of whom are immigrant women of color. They are fighting, among other things, for better insurance and a safer workplace, one where they are not expected to put their health at risk to turn over more rooms. Most importantly, they are fighting for respect and a chance for their work to be recognized. Continue reading Leaning In and Fighting Back
Dr. Greg Mantsios is Founder and Director of the Murphy Institute
One year ago, the Murphy Institute announced creation of a scholarship program designed to promote diversity in labor leadership and labor education. The mission of the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship Program — named in honor of former CUNY Chancellor Joseph S. Murphy, a tireless advocate for working people — is to foster a new generation of labor leaders and labor studies educators who reflect the composition of the U.S. workforce, now nearly half women and more than 30% people of color. We are pleased to report that our first scholarship recipients will begin their studies in September, 2014.
The 2014-15 scholarship winners will be recognized at our second annual scholarship fundraiser at the Murphy Institute on Tuesday, June 24th, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The event has multiple purposes, including recognition of rising leaders in the labor movement. However, our principal objective is to raise funds for continuance of the scholarship. We hope to raise $100,000 this year (and in each of the following four years) to match a challenge grant initiated by former CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. If we are successful, it will mean $1 million dollars in scholarship money for students from diverse constituencies. Continue reading Murphy Institute Scholarship Program Promotes Diversity in Labor