Category Archives: Union Semester

Celebrating Union Semester’s Wrap

Huge congratulations to our graduating NY Union Semester students of spring 2016! We are so pleased that so many of our students had life-changing experiences this semester. This semester, our students hung out with union presidents, organized for a potentially devastating Supreme Court case, talked to roadpavers about their rights at work, used popular education to train union leaders, helped facilitate a strike authorization vote, handled grievances for low-wage workers — and more.

For our final celebration on May 20, 2016 we heard a wonderful speech from student Andrew Brockwell (PSC-CUNY intern) and were treated to a singalong of “Union Maid” from Claire Edwards (1199 SEIU intern). We cannot wait to see you all in the movement going forward!

You could find Union Semester students talking to pedi-cab drivers, wearing a hard hat in Queens, coordinating community organizing efforts out of schools, building a plan to bring sustainable development to their home borough of the Bronx, memorializing Triangle Shirtwaist victims and playing pick-up basketball games.

Extra congratulations to our folks who have been offered union and community organizing work and internships already. You earned it!

Orientation Week at Union Semester

Photo features Union Semester Spring 2016 students

January 25 saw the arrival of a new crop of Union Semester students to the Murphy Institute. Students spent the next four days diving into the labor movement, learning about and from each other, and interviewing with potential organizations.

Some highlights include:

Social Justice Milestones

Students were asked to do a short presentation on an important moment that brought them to seek social justice as a passion and/or career.

The Panels

The Working in the Movement panelists talked about their current jobs at unions, plus how they got there. Our panel: Organizer Mary Clinton (Union Semester 2011) from CWA District 1 , Communications staff Rachel Van Raan-Welch (Union Semester 2012) from CIR SEIU, and Ed Yoo, the director of the NYSNA Research Department.

Panel on Working in the Movement, with Mary Clinton (alumni, now at CWA; Rachel Van Raan-Welch, alumni now at CIR SEIU; Ed Yoo, at NYSNA)
Mary, Rachel, Ed

Some tremendous Union Semester alumni came to speak about their semesters! We welcomed Brittany Anderson (Spring ’14) of Retail Action Project, Ryan Richardson (Fall ’07) with Cian, future member of Union Semester class of 2036 (pictured directly below). Hanalei Ramos (Spring ’15) of the Responsible Endowment Coalition and Liam Lynch (Fall ’13) with NYCOSH are pictured below. Thank you to Sam Valente (Fall ’14) for moderating!

Alumni Panel

Alumni Panel

Workshops

Eduardo Gonzalez Jr. from the Cornell University Extension led a terrific anti-oppression training.

Students participated in a simulation  organizing campaign, involving “house calls” with various Murphy staff people.

"House calls" during a practice organizing drive
“House calls” during a practice organizing drive

"House calls" during a practice organizing drive

Professor Josh Bienstock took students through a presentation and discussion of collective bargaining, its pitfalls and potentials.

Professor Josh Bienstock in a Collective Bargaining workshop.

Interviews with Host Organizations

Thursday evening, students made signs to take to a rally supporting workers at a restaurant downtown.

Preparing for protest

Headed to a protest downtown

 

 

Welcoming a New Class of Union Semester Students!

Welcome our spring 2016 NY Union Semester class!

Andrew Brockwell

20160108_142039Born and raised on Long Island, Andrew is a recently graduate of SUNY Old Westbury with a degree in Labor Relations. Ambitious and intelligent, he is joining the Union Semester program to gain insight and experience in working for a union and learn how, as institutions, unions can change public policy.

 

 

Claire Edwards

claireClaire Edwards is a fourth generation settler on Treaty 6 (Cree) territory in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She’s taking a year away from her studies at the University of Alberta in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies to intern in the US. This fall, she spent the semester at NARAL Pro-Choice America in Washington, DC where she interned in the development department. There, she saw the connection between the fight for reproductive rights and the fight for workers rights, and decided to apply for Union Semester to become a more effective organizer. Claire is excited to learn about the current state of the labor movement in the US and apply that knowledge to her work in Canada. 

Alexia Filpo

filpo photoAn undergraduate at CUNY Hunter College majoring in Political Science, minoring in Environmental Studies, Alexia’s goals include getting the Certificate in Labor Studies offered at the Murphy Institute, finishing her BA and obtaining a union job within the public sector, preferably as a sanitation worker, or working anywhere and creating a union! She is a member of the CUNY Internationalist Clubs at Hunter College and wants to work with a union that is aware of its own history and that knows its power, one that wants youth and all sectors of the working class to join in its struggle; a union that wants to tear-up FRIEDRICHS V. CALIFORNIA, among other laws that repress workers; a union that knows the plight of its black and immigrant brothers and sisters, and one that connect the struggles internationally.

Jonah Furman

IMG_0593Jonah was born in Chicago and raised in Evanston, IL. He went to college in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins, and studied philosophy and literature. He then moved to Boston and was in a touring band for four years, which traveled the US and Europe. He then moved to New York and interned at the Street Vendor Project, a workers center for NYC street vendors. He’s interested in radical approaches to work and wages (basic income, work refusal) and the histories of those approaches.

Isaac High

isaachighRaised in Maine, Isaac High is interested primarily in labor history and political economy, which he studies at Sarah Lawrence College (along with a few other things). Labor, union history, and challenges facing working people have been long standing interests of his. Through Union Semester, he hopes to expand his focus on this history and apply a general understanding to more specific and pressing issues. He would love to always be working with organized labor in some capacity.

Drew Picklyk

picklyk

Drew graduated from Concordia University in Montréal with a B.F.A in Film and History. A Toronto native, he has spent the last 5 years studying/working and then living/working in Québec. He’s greatly interested in analyzing the current state of labor as it functions in one of the the world’s economic capitals. Through this, he hopes to raise his awareness of of wage / wealth inequality and apply any learned remedies to his future pursuits in life. He is excited to be living in a new country and hopes his outside perspective will expose him to variety of issues he hadn’t previously been aware of.

Valeria Pinzon-Mendez

valeriaOriginally from the big and beautiful city of Bogota, Colombia, Valeria moved to Glastonbury, CT when she was 14 years old. She is now a sophomore at the University of Vermont majoring in Community and International Development. She was motivated to join CUNY Union Semester to have an opportunity to learn more about worker’s rights and struggles. She hopes to be an effective advocate for workers and most of all immigrant workers.

Afsana Rahman

afsanaAfsana is a junior at Hunter College majoring in Sociology. She was born and raised in New York City. Her parents are from Bangladesh and she has two siblings. Her interests are social inequality, race, intersectionality, and gender studies. At New York Union Semester she would like to learn more about the history of the Labor Movement in the United States and would also like to learn different ways to support worker’s rights. She hopes to gain a better understanding of how labor organizations function and how they support millions of workers throughout the world and especially in New York City.

Amanda Trainor

amandatrainorAfter completing her B.A. in International Relations and Spanish, Amanda Trainor has spent the last few years in Brooklyn advocating for adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. She recently trained as a birth doula to support families and she is passionate about crafting as a form of activism. New to labor organizing, Amanda feels motivated to learn first-hand how the labor movement can promote leadership for women and minorities and ultimately strengthen communities. She is excited to roll up her sleeves and become a more well-rounded activist by getting involved in the new experiences that Union Semester will offer.

Spend This Spring in the NYC Labor Movement!

“It let me know that there are ways to have a career in social activism…I can say that this is the most I ever learned in one semester of my life.”   – student participant

New York Union Semester pairs students with union internships and Labor Studies classes. Dig deep into a movement for worker’s rights and social change this semester!

group photo 2 ed.

• Intern four days a week with a union or worker organization in New York City. Students might get experience in research, organizing, public policy, communications, workforce development, and more.
• Enroll in Labor Studies courses at the Murphy Institute and earn a Certificate in Labor Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
• Take advantage of many networking opportunities in the labor movement and get to know the New York City labor movement from the inside.
• Earn a $7,000 living stipend and scholarship to help cover costs of tuition (all in-state), fees and living expenses.

 

While we accept applications on a rolling basis, you should submit your application and other application materials by November 10th, if you are applying for the Spring Semester.

Find more information and the application at www.unionsemester.org.

Information on tuition and fees available here.

Watch our coordinator talk about the program, then call or email at 212-642-2075 or sarah.hughes@cuny.edu.

Dates for the Spring 2016 Semester:

First day of orientation: January 25, 2016

First day of internship: February 1, 2016

Last day of internship: May 12, 2016

Last day of program/celebration: May 20, 2016

 

What’s YOUR Story?

 

youngworker

By Carey Garrison

This Friday, October 23, the Central Labor Council’s Young Workers will be hosting a fun yet educational event that promotes storytelling as a powerful way of accomplishing change.  The event invites young workers (18-35) to come out Friday between 5pm to enjoy refreshments and socializing, followed by a well-developed educational portion at 6:30pm that breaks down the essentials of storytelling and encourages interaction and discussion, followed by a party and an opportunity for continued discussion at 8pm.  From my experiences working with the CLC Young Workers, this event is going to be a uniquely fun yet engaging experience for young workers.  But the question then becomes—why?  Why young workers, why select such a particular demographic to represent and engage workers, what makes this group of individuals unique?

As a millennial who is new to the labor movement, I see potential in engaging the younger generations to accomplish change for all.  Sure, my generation is often criticized for the overuse of technology, the inability to commit and settle down, and the futile combination of ideological views with political apathy; but I think that behind these negative stereotypes, millennials have plenty to bring to the table. Continue reading What’s YOUR Story?

Murphy Alumni: Organize, Organize, Organize!

Murphy alumni have been gaining some press as of late.

New York Taxi Workers Alliance staffer and Union Semester alum Ryan Richardson joined cab drivers Bill Lindauer, Victor Salazar, and Asim Akhtar as they heckled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on the set of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (via NY Daily News.) Meanwhile, another Union Semester alum, Liam Lynch, was featured on KUT.org for NYCOSH‘s work seeking out 9/11 responders and survivors in Texas and beyond.

Here’s to our vibrant and active alumni community!