News Round-up

To the weekend! February’s slowing passing by and NYC’s sticking to record-breaking lows. Here’s some news from this past week:

  • How can teachers unions expand their self-conception, looking at the interests of the whole working class? Bob Peterson offers some ideas via Portside. Want more on labor and education? Check out the latest issue of the New Labor Forum.
  • How is the social-solidarity movement in Greece and the rise of Syriza manifesting a “shift in how we think in collective ways about meeting basic needs”? Read “How Greece Put an Anti-Austerity, Anti-Capitalist Party in Power” by Sarah Leonard via the Nation
  • From earlier this month: From 1974-1979 a small town in Manitoba, Canada offered a basic income guarantee, shoring up incomes for its poorest residents. Whitney Mallet at Vice writes about the so-called “mincome”
  • Speaking of guaranteed income, Alaska pays out dividends to all of its residents from revenues generated via its North Slope oil. On the Commons describes this unique system via Shareable
  • Per Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, today’s the deadline for contract disputes between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union which have slowed West Coast ports to a grind

Photo by JLS Photography via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Friday at Murphy: Is There a Future for Low Income Housing in New York City?

Join us on Friday, February 20th, 2015
8:30 to 10:15 am

The highlight of Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address on Tuesday was his affordable housing initiative, starting with East New York, one of the city’s least well-served neighborhoods. His words were greeted with demands for more details, particularly with regard to balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders. Helping to fill in these details, and discuss how to balance these needs, will be:

Brent Meltzer, Assistant Commissioner for Community Partnerships, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
Carlton Brown, founder and director, Full Spectrum Construction
Lavon Chambers, Local 79, Laborers Union
Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director, Mutual Housing Association of New York

Eve Baron, Urban Studies Program Manager, The Murphy Institute, will moderate

Continuing this discussion from a neighborhood perspective, examining how residents can build effective alliances and influence to help shape affordable housing initiatives, will be a forum on “Facing Gentrification; Reclaiming Community,” March 24, 2015, 6:00-7:30 pm.

This will be held at the Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., New York, 18th Floor.


Photo by Dan DeLuca via flickr (CC-BY).

Black families’ middle-class crisis

This article originally appeared on The Hill.

By Basil Smikle Jr.

Congressional Democrats are looking to renew and refine their support for the middle class through increased wage schemes and tax policies. But a spate of current research paints a disconcerting picture of America’s shrinking middle-income households and reveals particular struggles for black Americans, for whom the accumulation and intergenerational transfer of wealth are increasingly nonexistent. Democrats and progressive leaders looking to 2016 should shy away from all-or-nothing ideological debates and address the concerns of important constituencies, mindful of their intricacies and nuances.

A recent New York Times article asserts that the increasing number of households moving into upper-income brackets veiled substantial middle-class contraction over the last 50 years. Continue reading Black families’ middle-class crisis

Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’

by Sean Sweeney

During its first days in office, Syriza has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the EU’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.

The Syriza government has said it will stop the proposed sell off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatization in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities,” he said.

Lafanzis also announced that that the mostly state-run gas company, DEPA, will also not be privatized. Both the PPC and DEPA were due to be privatized under the conditions imposed by the Troika. Continue reading Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’

News Round-up

A quick round-up at the end of a short week. Stay warm out there, folks!

  • Major west coast ports partially shut-down this week thanks to a 9-month contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and port ownership, Pacific Maritime Association, over the issue of overtime. If a resolution isn’t reached, we could be seeing a total shutdown of the ports, the first since 2002.
  • How much is too much for adjunct pay? SEIU is fighting for $15k per course and the labor and academic world are abuzz
  • In what the Polish government has called an illegal action, 5,400 coal-workers at Jatzrebska Spolka Weglowa SA are continuing their two-week strike, demanding the dismissal of Chief Executive Officer Jaroslaw Zagorowski.
  • How can farming promote racial justice? Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow

Photo by salehi hassan via flickr (CC-BY-NC).

News Round-Up

Happy freezing Friday! Here’s a bit of what’s been happening in the worlds of labor, the city, and beyond:

  • 3,800 members of the United Steelworkers went on strike at 9 plants. Now in its 6th day, the strike has shut down 10% of US refining capacity and making for the union’s largest strike since 1980. At stake are workplace and community safety. In particular, the union is demanding shorter work hours and more employees.
  • Croatia canceled the debt of 60,000 of its poorest residents
  • NYC Mayor Bill Di Blasio’s State of the City address promised citywide ferry service, new housing construction, and a concerted effort to battle gentrification. How? The devil will, no doubt, be in the details.
  • In Atlantic City, NJ on Tuesday, the casino workers’ union filed 27 charges of unfair labor practices against the owners of the Trump Taj Mahal casino.
  • Violence and at least one death amid labor disputes in China, where migrant workers are suffering the effects of unpaid back wages.
  • 257,000 new jobs were added in January

Photo by Clark & Kim Kays via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).

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