Category Archives: Murphy News

Murphy Prof. Mimi Abramovitz Recognized by NASW

The NASW Foundation has selected Murphy Institute Professor Mimi Abramovitz to become a member of the NASW Social Work Pioneers. In addition to teaching at Murphy, Dr. Abramovitz is the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and a faculty member at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. Abramovitz is being honored for her “exceptional contribution to the social work profession and its ability to meet the needs of all people.”  NASW’s Newly elected Pioneers will be recognized during NASW’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening October 23, 2015 in Washington D.C.

Congratulations, Dr. Abramovitz!

Crime, Punishment and the Black Community: the Untold Story of the Rockefeller Drug Laws

Next month marks the launch of Murphy Professor Michael Javen Fortner’s eye-opening new book, Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment. A controversial and important account of the role that some in the African-American community played in encouraging punitive policies during the 1970s, in particular the Rockefeller Drug Laws, the book asks vital questions about agency, history and how we can strive for real peace and justice in an era of mass incarceration.

Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article on Fortner and Black Silent Majority (Defending Their Homes: How crime-terrorized African-Americans helped spur mass incarceration, by Marc Parry, Aug 3rd, 2015). In it, Parry describes Fortner’s engagement with Michelle Alexander’s explosive 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:

What vexed Fortner was that The New Jim Crow seemed to be two different books. One did a powerful job showing how mass incarceration undermines black communities and perpetuates racial inequality. The other — and this was the vexing part — advanced a political theory about how we got here. That history stressed the resilience of white supremacy. First came slavery; when slavery ended, a white backlash brought Jim Crow segregation; when Jim Crow crumbled, a backlash to the civil-rights movement spawned yet another caste system, mass incarceration. Each time, writes Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, proponents of racial hierarchy achieved their goals “largely by appealing to the racism and vulnerability of lower-class whites.” Continue reading Crime, Punishment and the Black Community: the Untold Story of the Rockefeller Drug Laws

Murphy Institute Featured in Labor Press

The Murphy Institute has had a long and storied past, from its roots in 1984 as a collaboration between CUNY and NYC municipal unions to where it stands today: en route to becoming its own freestanding school within CUNY.

In an article by Marc Bussinch in Labor Press last week entitled The Murphy Institute Survives Bloomberg Era; Pursuing Autonomy within CUNY , Murphy Director Greg Mantsios describes existing Murphy programs and where things might be headed:

A resolution passed at the New York State AFL-CIO convention calls on the university and public officials to reconstitute the Murphy into its own school and there’s been a major push to do that. Close to two dozen labor leaders have written letters to public officials and the CUNY Chancellor urging them to do this. The Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, has been pushing hard, as has been Senator Dianne Savino. The legislature allocated $1.5 M in this year’s budget to establish a new school for labor. Hopefully, two or three years from now we’ll be our own school with our own degree programs and hiring our own faculty and controlling our own budget, policy and procedures.

He continues:

[O]ur faculty is engaged in research. We want to start a research rewards program that extends beyond our faculty and offers financial awards to scholars and practitioners outside of our own orbit who are engaged in strategic thinking about the future of the labor movement. In addition, we issue an annual report on union density that looks at national, state and New York City figures and breaks down union density by geography, occupation, race, gender, profession, which unions find very useful for organizing drives. And I think we can play an important role in attracting social justice activists to the labor movement. There are some things we can’t control—like Supreme Court decisions or the economy—but we can control how well we organize ourselves. So we’re trying to provide activists with the skills they need to better fight the good fight whether at the workplace or in the public policy arena.

Read the full article at Labor Press.

ALR Project and China’s Mingde Institute at Collective Labor Disputes Conference

This post was originally featured at

China’s Mingde Institute of Labor Relations and CUNY’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations (ALR) program collaborated for the second time to present a Comparative Collective Labor Disputes Conference between the U.S. and China in Changsha in April 2015. More than 40 Chinese leading scholars, local union officials, governmental arbitrators, and labor attorneys attended the conference. Many active figures in China’s labor relations field participated as speakers and discussants, including professors from Peking University, Wuhan University, Shanghai Business and Finance, Capital University of Business and Economics, China Institute of Industrial Relations, Nanjing University, Sun Yat-san University, and researchers from the local MOHRSS arbitration department from Hunan, Shanghai, Guizhou, etc. Representatives from ILO also commented at the conference.

Representing the U.S. was Diane Frey, Senior Research Consultant at CUNY ALR, who spoke on labor organizing in the U.S., and Richard Fincher, Fellow and Instructor at the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell University, who presented on the U.S. arbitration and mediation system.

You can read more (in Chinese) at:


Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program seeks to broaden and strengthen communications and exchanges between China and U.S. universities and unions. is an English-Chinese bilingual website, developed by Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program to serve as a hub of resources for both academics and practitioners in the field of Labor Relations. More than five hundred searchable bilingual bibliographies, contract languages, training materials, relevant Labor Relations articles and U.S.-China comparative curriculum materials for the study of labor relations have been posted and shared in our website. Find it on our resource page.

The website also includes “Labor in the News”, featuring news from the labor field in the U.S., China, and worldwide on a weekly basis. To further this unique comparative perspective, the team also tweets these updates via Chinese social media, Weibo, to interact with our Chinese audience directly. Continue reading Introducing:

NYC Organizers Share Lessons from Spanish Anti-Austerity Movements at Murphy

This article was originally featured on The Indypendent.

By Janaki Chadha

After Greece, Spain has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the economic crisis that began in 2008. Unemployment stands at almost 25% and for young people it is twice that high. Spanish voters registered their desire for change in municipal elections on May 24 that brought leftist to power in Madrid, Barcelona and a half dozen other cities.

NYC to Spain, a diverse group of 20 mostly New York City-based activists, was on hand to witness and learn from Spain’s democratic uprising. On Tuesday evening, they gathered at the Murphy Institute to share their experiences and observations on Spain’s vibrant social movements. A crowd of about 100 people was on hand.

“We all know that the context is really different, but there are still commonalities,” said Lucas Shapiro, one of the organizers of the delegation. “Part of the importance of global solidarity is to be able to learn from other movements.” Continue reading NYC Organizers Share Lessons from Spanish Anti-Austerity Movements at Murphy