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.
Ah, summer! Time for conferencing, summit-ing and gathering for organizers, activists, and left-leaning academics. New Labor Forum has done the hard work of curating some of the more important upcoming events on our radar that we think you’ll be interested in. While attending a conference is usually a major expense, increasingly the organizers are using livestreamed video and social media to make remote, online participation a reality. All of the events listed below are also agenda-setting opportunities for their constituencies, so it’s worth following to see what new thinking is emerging.
“This notion of generational warfare is a red herring,” Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University’s Aging Studies Institute, told the crowd of about 100 gathered at the Murphy Institute’s offices on the 18th floor of a midtown New York City building. Kingson, the co-author of “Social Security Works!,” a book extolling the value of Social Security, argued that political leaders, particularly conservative ones, often use generational differences to drive people apart and keep them from demanding what they’re entitled to from their government.
Kingson had a foolproof test. He asked participants to raise their hands if they had grandparents or grandchildren and then asked if they hated their grandparents or grandkids to prove that the two groups really do have each other’s concerns at heart. “I don’t accept this notion of young versus old as a real issue. I view it as something that was created and is used as a wedge to try and drive people apart,” Kingson told MarketWatch. “The reality is it hasn’t worked very well, even though there’s a lot of talk about it.”Continue reading Millennials and Boomers Explore Shared Challenges→
In recent years, the once-widespread practice of long-term career employment has been abandoned by most nonunion employers, replaced by what’s been described as a “much more open, just-in-time labor market” — one in which older workers are especially likely to be laid off. Pensions have been radically transformed, while the unionized share of the workforce has declined sharply, especially in the private sector, and the number of workers covered by multi-employer pension plans has fallen dramatically.
How can we make sense of this changing landscape for aging workers?
Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Ed Ott recently released a report called “Labor and Longevity: Unions and the Aging Workforce.” In it, they explore the relationship between aging workers and union organizing nationwide and in New York City, offering recommendations for how unions can defend and negotiate for benefits that meet the needs of all of their workers.
On May 11th, the Murphy Institute hosted an all-day conference assessing the unfolding immigration crisis, highlighting the perspectives of labor unions, worker centers, community organizations, and local government.
The Trump administration’s efforts to restrict immigration, expand deportations, thwart sanctuary cities, and intensify border enforcement mark dramatic shifts in immigration politics and policies. This event convened a range of national and local experts and leaders to explore the implications of these national shifts, especially for local immigrant communities and the possibilities for resistance.
Missed the event or want to experience it again? Check out full recordings of the panel discussions below.
PART I: Background and Context
Muzaffar Chishti – Migration Policy Institute, Director of MPI’s office at NYU School of Law
Mae Ngai – Columbia University, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies
Moderator: Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center & Murphy Institute
PART II: Labor Responses
Esther Lopez – United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Secretary-Treasurer
Eliseo Medina – Service Employees International Union, Former International Secretary-Treasurer
Gonzalo Mercado – National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), New York City Regional Coordinator, and Executive
Director at La Colmena – Staten Island Community Job Center
Javaid Tariq – New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Co-Founder and Senior Staff
Modesta Toribio – Make the Road New York, Senior Organizer
Moderator: Ed Ott, Murphy Institute/CUNY, Distinguished Lecturer of Labor Studies
PART III: Community and Local Government Responses
Anu Joshi – NY State Immigrant Action Fund, Deputy Director
Abraham Paulos – Families for Freedom, former Executive Director
Donna Schaper – Judson Memorial Church, Senior Minister
Monica Sibri – CUNY DREAMers, Founder, and New York Fellow at IGNITE National
Moderator: Els de Graauw, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Baruch College-CUNY
If they haven’t won a contract by 3pm today, 40,000 AT&T workers will go on strike. Coming on the heels of last year’s Verizon strike, this marks another potentially historic action for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) — and the workers have much cause for grievance. From David Bacon at In These Times:
In California and Nevada, around 17,000 AT&T workers who provide phone, landline and cable services have been working without a contract for more than a year. Last year, they voted to authorize a strike with more than 95 percent support. And in February, an estimated 21,000 AT&T Mobility workers in 36 states voted to strike as well, with 93 percent in favor.
Workers have issued an ultimatum, giving company executives until 3 p.m. ET on Friday to present serious proposals—or the workers will walk.
It wouldn’t be the first strike at AT&T. Some 17,000 workers in California and Nevada walked off the job in late March to protest company changes in their working conditions in violation of federal law. After a one-day strike, AT&T agreed not to require technicians to perform work assignments outside of their expertise. Nevertheless, the biggest issues for workers remained unresolved.
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the country with $164 billion in sales and 135 million wireless customers nationwide. It has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the United States since 2011, representing more than 30 percent of its call center employees, and closed more than 30 call centers. Meanwhile, the company has outsourced the operation of more than 60 percent of its wireless retail stores to operators who pay much less than the union wage, according to CWA.
Believe it or not, Millennials and Baby Boomers have much in common, especially when it comes to the changing U.S. political economy. Join us for an intergenerational happy hour discussion unpacking the impact of America’s fractured social safety net across generations.
It’s no secret that today’s young adult generation faces unprecedented financial insecurity. Compared to when Baby Boomers were young, Millennials (born 1980 and after) have lower incomes, less savings, and lower net worth. They are also disproportionately likely to be uninsured, underemployed, or unemployed, and many are saddled with unprecedented levels of student debt. Continue reading Event: Building Bridges Across the Generation Gap (5/19)→
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice