Category Archives: Labor Studies

September Protests

Photo Credit: Leung Ching Yau Alex via Flickr

By Stanley Aronowitz

September was an eventful month for social protests.

Here at home, an estimated 400,000 marchers filled the streets of New York City to demand urgent action to stem climate change. Global warming is only the tip of the crisis: flooding, severe hurricane activity, droughts and unexpected heat waves have recently afflicted large portions of the planet. The climate march comprised a wide range of groups, including large contingents from the unions, environmental organizations and a surprising array of unaffiliated citizens.

On Monday, September 29 hundreds of members of the Professional Staff Congress, the union of faculty and staff of the City University of New York rallied for a raise on the street facing the main entrance to Baruch College, where the CUNY Board of Directors was meeting. Like other city and state workers, the union’s 23,000 members had not received a raise for four years.

The pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong exemplified a more militant response. Continue reading September Protests

The growing disjunction in education policy

This article originally appeared on The Hill.

By Basil Smikle Jr.

A flurry of activity among education reformers across the country exposes a growing bifurcation within its ranks, uncovered by recent challenges to teacher tenure in New York. Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s Partnership for Educational Justice, which recently recruited renowned attorneys David Boies and Laurence Tribe, seeks to reform teacher tenure laws, mirroring activities that led to California’s controversial Vergara ruling. But earlier this month, the New York City Parents Union filed suit separately alleging that Brown’s group failed to include scores of minority parents in their complaint. This troubling yet pervasive tableau has bedeviled modern reform movements since their inception: Leadership has remained predominantly white, even though the target populations are overwhelmingly black and Latino. And these battles are contributing to a growing disjunction in education policy and among stakeholders within communities and across cities.  Continue reading The growing disjunction in education policy

American Airlines and US Airways Service Agents Vote to Join Union

This month, service agents at the recently-merged American Airlines and US Airways held a combined union election, voting on whether or not to join CWA-IBT, a joint union of the Communications Workers of America and the Teamsters. The stakes were high: an upvote would mean the un-unionized American Airlines would join in US Airways workers’ collective bargaining. A downvote would have lost US Airways workers their contract.

Fortunately, 86% voted in favor of unionizing, empowering the existing union and finally granting union status to American Airlines employees, who tried unsuccessfully to unionize last year.

For more on this historic vote, check out Dave Jamieson’s article, American Airlines, US Airways Workers Vote Overwhelmingly To Join Union.

Photo by Matt Hintsa via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Labor and the People’s Climate March

Photo shows Master’s degree alum Bill Cali marching with the Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU.

By Stephanie Luce

Murphy faculty, staff and students were among the over-310,000 people who participated in the People’s Climate March on September 21. Labor unions first gathered for a rally at 57th Street and Broadway before the march began, and union leaders and members spoke about the importance of the march and the issue of climate change.

Many union members were impacted directly or indirectly by Superstorm Sandy, and they are eager for the city to make necessary changes to prevent future storms from having a catastrophic impact. Continue reading Labor and the People’s Climate March

Congratulations to Ai-jen Poo!

By Stephanie Luce

Ai-jen Poo, the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, was selected for the prestigious 2014 Macarthur “Genius” Fellowship. The Murphy Institute has been a long-time admirer of Ai-jen’s work, including her efforts to help win the passage of the New York State Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in 2010. Last year, Ai-jen was one of six recipients of the Murphy Institute’s Emerging Leaders Award. Ai-jen also serves on the advisory board of the New Labor Forum, and she is the author of the New Labor Forum article, “A Twenty-First Century Organizing Model: Lessons from the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign,” which appeared in February 2011. We are thrilled that the Macarthur committee recognized Ai-jen’s brilliance and the importance of her work. Continue reading Congratulations to Ai-jen Poo!