New Labor Forum Highlights: April 30th, 2018

The New Labor Forum has 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.

The wildly successful teachers’ strike in West Virginia earlier this spring has not only inspired walkouts in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona, but has managed to turn the tide in the all-important realm of public opinion.  According to a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a full 78 percent of Americans believe that teachers are underpaid. And remarkably, slightly more than half approve of teachers’ strikes to defend public education and protest low pay. Given the fact that members of teachers’ unions currently represent fully a quarter of all union members nationwide, this growing support for teachers holds extra importance.

Here, we offer a piece by New Labor Forum Editor-at-Large Steve Fraser, who examines the conditions that have caused red state teachers to shed the respectability and ambiguity of middle-class status to wage a working-class rebellion. And in a piece written for today’s newsletter, Chris Brooks suggests what teachers’ unions will have to do to keep up with a movement spurred by the rank-and-file, in defense not just of themselves, but also of the children and communities they serve. We also include an op-ed by Paul Krugman, who reveals how the tax cutting protocol of right-wing state governments has led to wage and benefit cuts for teachers and four-day school weeks and substandard conditions for students. And these circumstances, it seems, have finally caused the broader public to reject the conservative propensity to scapegoat teachers for the failures of a public education system plagued by unequal funding and fiscal austerity. We will continue to assess the lessons and inspiration this uprising offers a debilitated labor movement and political movements of the burgeoning resistance.

Table of Contents

  1. Teaching America a Lesson/ Steve Fraser, TomDispatch.com
  2. What Should Unions Do After The Strike Wave?/ Chris Brooks, New Labor Forum
  3. We Don’t Need No Education/ Paul Krugman, The New York Times
  4. Amid Strikes, Americans back teacher raises/ The Associated Press, NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

Photo by Charles Edward Miller via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Event: The Future of Capitalism and the Future of Work (Watch Livestream)

Can’t make it in person? Watch the livestream here:

Friday, May 4th, 2018, 9:30am-6:30pm
The Murphy Institute
25 W 43rd Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY, 10036 

RSVP HERE

Co-sponsored by The Murphy Institute’s Labor Studies Program, CUNY and The NYC Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network

In recent years, structural changes in the labor market, skyrocketing inequality, and rapid technological innovation have sparked renewed debate and speculation about the future of capitalism and the future of work itself. This conference features leading scholars, journalists and activists’ perspectives on these issues.

The day is structured to engage three key debates:

  • The impact of technological innovation, especially robots and artificial intelligence, on workers and on the labor market
  • The vast increase in capacity for surveillance and data collection by high-tech firms and its implications for daily life as well as for the workplace
  • The impact of the ecological crisis and the political failure to address it for the future of capitalism and the future of work.

The conference has three panels, each devoted to one of these debates. Each panel includes one keynote presentation from an expert on the topic, comments from two respondents, followed by discussion with the audience.

The conference is free and open to the public. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided, and there will be a reception at the close of the proceedings. Continue reading Event: The Future of Capitalism and the Future of Work (Watch Livestream)

Photos: Cornell-Cuny Labor Relations Program Spring Conference

By Kristina Lilley

Students and faculty of the Murphy Institute and Cornell University Labor Relations Certificate Program gathered on Saturday, April 21st to discuss the Future of Work. The annual spring conference created and facilitated by current Cornell-CUNY students featured veteran leaders within New York City’s labor movement. Among the guest speakers were Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative for popular democracy, Garrett O’Connor, experienced organizer and labor strategist, Murphy student Alexander Mason, and community, labor, and anti-war activist Eljeer Hawkins.

The conference focused on the impact of Artificial Intelligence innovation within the workplace and its repercussions to the existing and future workforce. Students and speakers collaborated to discuss how the industries of New York City, specifically the transit, healthcare, education, retail and construction industries are being altered by A.I., robotics, and other technologies. In group sessions, students discussed how the future of work will contribute to or reduce existing inequalities and inequities within our labor system, in addition to the effects technological innovations will play in relation to ongoing social, racial, and environmental inequities. The conference laid the foundation for the upcoming series The Future of Capitalism and The Future of Work to be held at the Murphy Institute this Thursday—May 4th. Continue reading Photos: Cornell-Cuny Labor Relations Program Spring Conference

Award Winning Week at Murphy

Last week was filled with awards recognizing the achievements of leaders within the Murphy Institute community.

United Association for Labor Education (UALE) awarded Murphy Institute Director Greg Mantsios their UALE 2018 Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education award.

The New York City Council awarded Murphy Institute Advisory Board Chair Arthur Cheliotes a Lifetime Achievement Award, pictured above.​

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) presented a  Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award to Murphy Institute professor Dr. Mimi Abramovitz, DSW, MSW.
A hearty congratulations to Greg, Aruthur, and Mimi!

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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