Category Archives: Labor Studies

Announcing: JSMI Fall 2017 Public Programming Season

Each season, the Murphy Institute brings incisive public programming about the political and social issues facing our city, our country and our world. This fall, we’re going deep on our democracy, our history and ourselves, exploring where we’ve been and where we might go from here.

We begin this season with debate and strategic thinking regarding two major cases before the Supreme Court, opening with Gill v. Whitford on the practice of redistricting through partisan gerrymandering.  We will then turn to the future of public sector unions, made precarious by the pending Janus v. AFSCME case. We will also be looking closer to home by examining, together with Hunter College’s National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, the 50th anniversary of the the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, commonly known as the Taylor Law. Also of special concern to New Yorkers is the City’s current transit crisis, an issue we’ll explore in a forum that will discuss solutions to enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city.  We will round out the year by marking the 20th anniversary of the Murphy Institute’s journal, New Labor Forum, and use this occasion to assess efforts to rebuild a working-class movement that the journal has for two decades debated and discussed.

It all kicks off on Friday, September 15th with Divided Results: Voting and Partisan Gerrymandering. Then, look forward to The Taylor Law in Perspective at 50, to be held September 26 at Roosevelt House, Hunter College.

Stay tuned for more details as the fall gets underway!

Photo by Stephen Melkisethian via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A Not-So-Happy Labor Day: NLF Highlights for September 4, 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.

For the past half-century, Labor Day has more often than not presented the occasion for a sobering assessment of the diminished power of organized labor and the resulting decline in living standards for the entire working-class – from wage stagnation and precarious work to the whittling away of employer-based health and pension coverage. And this Labor Day forces an even grimmer-than-usual reckoning. The fact that, only a week ago, the Trump regime inducted the likes of former President Ronald Reagan into the Labor Department Hall of Honor is emblematic of the crisis. With the addition of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the right-wing’s decades-long attack on public sector unionism is likely to score a big victory in the Janus v. AFSCME case, slated for a hearing later this fall. In theSeptember 2017 issue of New Labor Forum, rolling off press now, we contemplate the probable implications and strategic options facing public sector unions once the ruling is handed down. Included in this newsletter is an article from the issue by Chris Brooks, arguing against a strategy of members-only unionism advocated by some on the left in response to the predicted end of the agency shop.

Also under contemplation in the Fall 2017 issue, is the historically troubled, but occasionally productive, relationship between organized labor and civil rights organizations. Strengthening that alliance in the years ahead will prove critical to the fate of labor and racial justice movements. We offer here a piece from the journal by Brandon Terry and Jason Lee, examining the historical obstacles to such alliances, and suggesting new grounds on which to reinvigorate those efforts under current circumstances.

Subscribe to New Labor Forum and gain full access to in-depth analysis on issues like these.

Table of Contents

  1. A Cure Worse Than the Disease/ Chris Brooks
  2. State of the Union/ Ruth Milkman & Stephanie Luce
  3. Rethinking the Problem of Alliance/ Brandon Terry & Jason Lee
  4. Fighting Back Against Public Sector Attacks/ Pierrette Talley
  5. The Trump Administration Just Put Ronald Reagan Alongside Eugene Debs In Its Labor Hall of Honor/ Thor Benson

Photo via The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives 

Orientation Brings New JSMI Students Together

On Wednesday, August 23rd, 75 new Murphy Institute certificate students gathered along with existing students, faculty, administrators and staff members for a warm welcome to the Murphy family. The new student orientation brought together union semester and community semester cohorts, as well as Public Administration, Healthcare Policy and Administration, and Labor Relations groups. Thanks to all who participated, and here’s to the success of our students!

 

Report: State of the Unions 2017

Organized labor has suffered sharp declines in recent years. So where does this leave the labor movement? And how do New York City and State compare to the nation as a whole?

Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce have released a new report that addresses these questions. State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State and the United States looks at how union density has changed nationally and locally across demographics and industries over the past decades, and assesses the challenges and prospects that the labor movement faces now and in the coming years.

Explore this invaluable and accessible report here.

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)