Category Archives: Labor Studies

Video: Gramsci’s Importance for the Left Today

This year’s Left Forum featured a panel exploring Antonio Gramsci’s work as a major critic of capitalism. Part of a series on major critical thinkers, the panel explored how engagement with Gramsci’s work can advance and sharpen left strategies and tactics in our times. Check it out below.

Featuring:

  • Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show
  • Kate Crehan, Professor Emerita, College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Chris Hedges, columnist for Truthdig and host of On Contact
  • Richard D. Wolff, Democracy @ Work, Left Forum

Photos: 2017 Murphy Graduation

On May 19th, JSMI hosted our Spring 2017 Graduation Party. A big congratulations to our graduating class of 2017 — and gratitude to all the staff who planned and worked this event.

Current Labor Studies MA student Carmelina Cartei organized a performance to kick off the event, along with performers Elaine Betesh, Naomi Calhoun, Katherine De La Cruz, Susan Epstein,
Anabel Lugones and Sarah Venezia —  and with our own Irene Garcia-Mathes supporting and Rose Imperato on saxophone as well! Photos from the performance and the rest of the graduation celebration are below.

Our thanks as well to our wonderful MC Stacey Payton, who is a Diversity Scholarship recipient and graduated with an MA in Labor Studies. Check out the text from Stacey’s speech, posted in full below the photos.

Continue reading Photos: 2017 Murphy Graduation

Prof. Penny Lewis Releases New Book: The City is the Factory

This month marks the release of The City Is The Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age, edited by Murphy Prof. Penny Lewis and Miriam Greenberg.

Urban public spaces, from the streets and squares of Buenos Aires to Zuccotti Park in New York City, have become the emblematic sites of contentious politics in the twenty-first century. As the contributors to The City Is the Factory argue, this resurgent politics of the square is itself part of a broader shift in the primary locations and targets of popular protest from the workplace to the city. This shift is due to an array of intersecting developments: the concentration of people, profit, and social inequality in growing urban areas; the attacks on and precarity faced by unions and workers’ movements; and the sense of possibility and actual leverage afforded by local politics and the tactical use of urban space. Thus, “the city”—from the town square to the banlieu—is becoming like the factory of old: a site of production and profit-making as well as new forms of solidarity, resistance, and social reimagining.

We see examples of the city as factory in new place-based political alliances, as workers and the unemployed find common cause with “right to the city” struggles. Demands for jobs with justice are linked with demands for the urban commons—from affordable housing to a healthy environment, from immigrant rights to “urban citizenship” and the right to streets free from both violence and racially biased policing. The case studies and essays in The City Is the Factory provide descriptions and analysis of the form, substance, limits, and possibilities of these timely struggles.

Contributors:
Melissa Checker, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Daniel Aldana Cohen, University of Pennsylvania; Els de Graauw, Baruch College, City University of New York; Kathleen Dunn, Loyola University Chicago
Shannon Gleeson, Cornell University; Miriam Greenberg, University of California, Santa Cruz; Alejandro Grimson, Universidad de San Martín (Argentina); Andrew Herod, University of Georgia; Penny Lewis, Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, City University of New York; Stephanie Luce, Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, City University of New York; Lize Mogel, artist and coeditor of An Atlas of Radical Cartography; Gretchen Purser, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Learn more or purchase a copy here.

Event: Renewing the Alliance: Unions and Co-ops Fight for Worker Power (6/9)

Friday, June 9, 2017   *   1pm to 5pm

Fordham Law School at Lincoln Center  

150 West 62nd Street   *   New York City 

**FREE** Register at http://bit.ly/2qczTH3       

Directions: http://bit.ly/2rL7zNs

Under fierce attack from the corporate sector, labor unions are exploring worker co-ops as a way to organize new members, save members’ jobs, create new jobs, and build community alliances. Presenters from NYC, Cincinnati and beyond will share their unions’ experiences with these experiments. Through panels, small group discussions and networking opportunities participants will explore how the co-op business model can help to strengthen and expand our unions.

Speakers include:

  • Ellen Vera – National Manufacturing Organizing Coordinator, IUE-CWA; cofounder, Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative
  • Mary Hoyer – cochair, UnionCo-ops Council of US Federation of Worker Co-ops
  • Carmen Huertas-Noble – director, CUNY Law School Community & Economic Development Clinic, legal expert on unionized worker co-ops
  • Keith Joseph – 1199SEIU rep for Cooperative Home Care Associates, the US’s largest worker coop
  • David Hammer – ICA Group, consultants to unions on business conversions
  • Brendan Martin, director, The Working World, which supported the launch of New Era Windows in Chicago
  • Arturo Archila – United Steel Workers NYC, helped launch a unionized co-op
  • Roger Green, director, Bunche-DuBois Center for Public Policy Research, Medgar Evers College

Sponsors: UnionCo-ops Council of US Federation of Worker Coops, Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies-CUNY, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, FPWA, 1Worker1Vote.org

Check out the full conference registration for the  Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy! June 9-11

Millennials and Boomers Explore Shared Challenges

Last Friday, the Murphy Institute hosted Building Bridges Across the Generation Gap, an event designed to bring millennials and baby boomers together to talk about the challenges faced by the two groups. Jillian Berman covered the event for MarketWatch:

“This notion of generational warfare is a red herring,” Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University’s Aging Studies Institute, told the crowd of about 100 gathered at the Murphy Institute’s offices on the 18th floor of a midtown New York City building. Kingson, the co-author of “Social Security Works!,” a book extolling the value of Social Security, argued that political leaders, particularly conservative ones, often use generational differences to drive people apart and keep them from demanding what they’re entitled to from their government.

Kingson had a foolproof test. He asked participants to raise their hands if they had grandparents or grandchildren and then asked if they hated their grandparents or grandkids to prove that the two groups really do have each other’s concerns at heart. “I don’t accept this notion of young versus old as a real issue. I view it as something that was created and is used as a wedge to try and drive people apart,” Kingson told MarketWatch. “The reality is it hasn’t worked very well, even though there’s a lot of talk about it.” Continue reading Millennials and Boomers Explore Shared Challenges

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.