Category Archives: New Labor Forum

New Labor Forum Highlights: April 18th, 2016

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.

This week’s Highlights focuses on the Fight for $15. We begin with New Labor Forum consulting editor, Stephanie Luce, who places the wage gains in context of the larger, global fight to stop the erosion of worker power and answers critics who claim that the United States cannot afford a $15 minimum wage. We also encapsulate information we think everyone should want to know about the differences between the recent New York and California wage increases,  and the positions of each of the five 2016 Presidential candidates on #FightforFifteen. Next, we have a video clip from a panel at the Murphy Institute where Fight for $15 Organizing Director Kendall Fells describes how thousands of workers least expected to rise up are doing so to demand what no one thought possible: $15 an hour for fast-food workers. We conclude with two pieces about the massive day of action, April 14, 2016, for the Fight for $15. The first is a video from Fight for $15 that shows the scope of involvement around the globe. And we close with an article about Jeffrey Pendleton, to whom the day of action was dedicated.

Contents:

  1. And a Union: Minimum-Wage Victories and The Fight for Worker Power by Stephanie Luce
  2. Comparing New York and California’s Wage Increases
  3. The Presidential Candidates on #FightforFifteen
  4. VIDEO: Kendall Fells on the Fight for $15
  5. VIDEO: Fight for $15 April 14, 2016
  6. When Wages Lead to Jail and Death

Photo by Mark Dixon via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: April 4th, 2016

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.

This week’s newsletter focuses on the debt crisis in Puerto Rico – its roots, its likely impact on poor and working-class Puerto Ricans, and a look at the political impact that those who flee the beleaguered economy could have as they relocate to the United States. First, Jennifer Wolff explores the efforts of the island’s divided labor movement to respond to the crisis. Watch our Editorial Board member,Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News columnist and Democracy Now! host, discuss the role that colonialism has played in the catastrophe. We close with an article from the Los Angeles Times that examines the 2016 election cycle implications of having nearly 1,000 Puerto Ricans (and potential voters) settle in the swing-state of Florida each month.

Contents:

  1. Debtors’ Island: How Puerto Rico Became a Hedge Fund Playground by Jennifer Wolff
  2. Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis: Economic Collapse in America’s Biggest Colony And What Can be Done About It (Video / NLF Editorial Board Member Juan Gonzalez)
  3. Influx of Puerto Ricans Could Be Game-changer in Country’s Biggest Swing State by Kate Linthicum

Photo by Ricardo’s Photography via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 21, 2016

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.

New Labor Forum Highlights: Mar. 21, 2016 

This newsletter focuses on labor and digital organizing. Kati Sipp, in her forthcoming article in the May issue of New Labor Forum, asks: How long will it take for labor to catch up to the corporate and political tech sectors in the use of digital tools? Why is it taking so long? And what are the enormous missed opportunities? It’s a timely look at an issue that’s become pressing for large categories of workers, such as Uber and those in the gig economy. It’s also a fitting accompaniment to the report “Virtual Labor Organizing: Could Technology Help Reduce Income Inequality?” by Zuckerman, Kahlenberg, and Marvit. While tech can’t solve the political and social contradictions, they argue it can make solutions easier to implement and fight for.

Last but not least – save the date for the next Organizing 2.0, the annual training event for labor and allied movements to improve their use of digital tools and strategies, to be held at the Murphy Institute. Now in its 8th year, this event features fifty distinct workshops covering social media, mobile apps, email list management, small dollar fundraising, online video production, internal organizing and more. Not to be missed.

Contents:

  1. The Internet versus the Labor Movement: Why Unions Are Late-Comers to Digital Organizing/ by Kati Sipp
  2. Register for conference.organizing20.org
  3. Virtual Labor Organizing: Could Technology Help Reduce Income Inequality?/ by Mark Zuckerman, Richard D. Kahlenberg, and Moshe Z. Marvit

Photo by Michael Coghlan via flickr (CC-SA)

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 7, 2016

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.

Working-class anxiety and rage – often disguised in the drama that is American electoral politics – have assumed a central role in the current presidential race. It is this distress that has in large part buoyed the Donald, harlequin huckster of the GOP, who upon reviewing the Nevada Caucus results, declared, “I love the poorly educated!”

And in a sign that working-class angst may have emerged from some of its old hiding places, evangelicals have largely abandoned candidates like Ted Cruz, who have built their careers railing against abortion and gay rights, in favor the unabashed playboy exemplar of “New York values.” It is Trump’s energetic anti-free trade, anti-immigrant tirades that so poignantly enact white working-class stress and has brought him to the lead. 

So no surprise then that union members voting in the Republican primaries vote for Trump at significantly higher rates than other GOP voters. This, after roughly two decades of energetic, expensive and, until now, fairly successful efforts on behalf of the AFL-CIO to educate union voters and their families. On one hand, it makes perfect sense; after years of making it clear that corporate friendly free trade deals were harming workers, why wouldn’t Republican union members square the circle by going for Trump?

Please feel free to respond directly on New Labor Forum’s site. We welcome your feedback!

Contents:

  1. The Genie Grown Monstrous: How Donald Trump, the All-American Frankenstein, Devoured the GOP / Steve Fraser Editor – at Large, New labor Forum
  2. Class Will Out by Harold Meyerson, American Prospect

Photo by Gage Skidmore used via Creative Commons from flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Michael Javen Fortner and Marie Gottschalk: How Should We Reform Criminal Justice?

The Murphy Institute is known for its public programming, bringing thinkers, leaders and policymakers together to discuss the issues vital to making change in our city and our world. 

In the Fall issue of Dissent, Michael Javen Fortner and Marie Gottschalk outlined opposing visions of how we created mass incarceration, and how we should think about ending it. In December, the two scholars spoke at the Murphy Institute, where they continued the debate. Check out some of the conversation below.

The idea that we need to reform this country’s criminal justice system is finally gaining bipartisan support in Washington, thanks in part to social movements like Black Lives Matter. But even if we agree that something must be done, we sharply disagree—even on the left—about what reform should look like. At what point must we examine the structural causes of crime? Can we reduce the number of prisoners without first addressing poverty?

Unions, Workers, and the Democratic Party

The Murphy Institute is known for its public programming, bringing thinkers, leaders and policymakers together to discuss the issues vital to making change in our city and our world. 

This past September at Murphy, Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers, and Larry Cohen of Making Progressive Politics Work and the former President of the Communications Workers of America discussed the future of the Democratic Party. Watch part of the conversation below.

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?