Category Archives: Murphy News

Event: Women Leading the Global Labor Rights Movement (9/25)

Date: September 25, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor (Room 18A/B)

Registration link

In the past 20 years neo-liberal globalization has forced de-regulation of labour markets, increased the power and movement of capital and resulted in lower real wages, higher profits, increased inequality and diminished labor power. In Asia this has resulted in the highest gender pay gap in the world, and the majority of women work in employment that lacks basic security, benefits, and safe working conditions. Women workers comprise the majority in the garment industry and domestic work is the most common occupation for women in Asia, accounting for one-third of all waged female employment. It remains to be among the lowest paid, least valued, and least organized sector.

Come hear and meet with three labor rights leaders from Bangladesh and Indonesia share their work organizing domestic workers and garment workers. Hear their stories and the importance of women’s leadership in the fight for labor rights in the context of a global economy geared towards profits for multinational companies. Inequality is now so high that a woman garment worker in Bangladesh earns less in a year than the Walton family earns every second. Within this development model, women face additional barriers to organizing as they often do majority of the household work. We will also show a documentary short on garment worker organizing in Bangladesh.

  • Moderator: Chaumtoli Huq, Editor & Attorney, Law@theMargins
  • Nazma Akter, Bangladesh, President, Awaj Foundation
  • Eni Lestari, Indonesia/Hong Kong, Chairperson, International Migrants
    Alliance (IMA)
  • Kate Lappin, Regional Coordinator Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

For more information, please contact Chaumtoli Huq at (347) 445-1867.

Livestream: Unions, Workers, and the Democratic Party (9/18)

With: Randi Weingarten | Larry Cohen | Juan Gonzalez | Basil Smikle | Ed Ott

[A version of this post published on 9/11 has been edited to include the livestream window. – Ed.]

American Labor is facing the most exciting political contest since 2008’s rivalry between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both candidates have a long record support from unions.  During their overlapping time in the Senate they voted together 93% of the time.

While this (mostly behind the scenes) contest is going on, the official DNC debate schedule will only start in late October. Partisans for each candidate and observers interested in the process are eager to see the first debate of the season – even if the candidates aren’t present, and the debate format is a friendly roundtable. Please come back on Friday, 9/18, at 8.30 am for the livestream of Unions, Workers, and the Democratic Party.The video will appear below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOEmwWtPZtU

Regardless of who becomes the Democratic Party candidate for President in 2016, organized labor is poised once again to spend millions of dollars on the Democratic candidate. What is labor shopping for? What is it likely to get for its political money? How will it determine whether or not its resources were wisely spent? Will the larger, diverse working-class find a distinct voice in a political environment dominated by big money?

Speakers:

  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Larry Cohen, Making Progressive Politics Work; former President, Communications Workers of America
  • Juan Gonzalez, reporter for Daily News and co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Basil Smikle, Executive Director, New York State Democratic Party

Moderated by Ed Ott, Distinguished Lecturer, The Murphy Institute

New Yorker Coverage of Book by Prof. Michael Fortner

Murphy Institute Professor Michael Fortner’s hotly anticipated new book Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment gains yet more coverage with the latest edition of the New Yorker. In Kelefa Sanneh’s review, Body Count, the writer places Fortner’s book in conversation with the latest from Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) as well as Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow:

This summer, the Black Lives Matter movement got a literary manifesto, in the form of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” (Spiegel & Grau), a slender but deeply resonant book that made its début atop the Times best-seller list[…]

Four decades ago, a number of black leaders were talking in similarly urgent terms about the threats to the black body. The threats were, in the words of one activist, “cruel, inhuman, and ungodly”: black people faced the prospect not just of physical assault and murder but of “genocide”—the horror of slavery, reborn in a new guise. The activist who said this was Oberia D. Dempsey, a Baptist pastor in Harlem, who carried a loaded revolver, the better to defend himself and his community. Dempsey’s main foe was not the police and the prisons; it was drugs, and the criminal havoc wreaked by dealers and addicts. Continue reading New Yorker Coverage of Book by Prof. Michael Fortner

Report: State of the Unions 2015

What’s the relationship between unionization and the racial pay gap?

According to a new report by Murphy Institute Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, unions narrow the racial divide in wage levels. The report states:

Blacks have higher unionization rates than any other racial/ethnic group. Those who are union members reap substantial economic advantages, such as improved earnings, more job security, and greater access to employer-provided health insurance and pensions. 

An annual publication from the Murphy Institute, the report provides a wealth of information about unions in New York City, New York State and beyond, providing union density levels by geography, industry, race, gender, earnings, education, and other variables, and showing modest growth of unions at both the City and State level.

On Friday, the report was covered in a NY Times article called Unionization Important to Closing Racial Wage Gap, Study Says.

See the full report here.