Prof. Abramovitz’s Human Services Research Gains Press

Prof. Mimi Abramovitz, who teaches at Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work and here at Murphy, has been working on a study along with co-coordinator Jennifer Zelnick that looks at human service workplace and practice trends.

Recently, this work has been picking up press: in November, New York Nonprofit Press wrote about the human service workforce study, while two recent podcasts from the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work discuss the effects of privatization on human services. (See Part 1 and Part 2.) Finally, in September, WVOX 1460AM ran an interview of Prof. Abramovitz conducted by Allison Sesso, Executive Director of Human Services Council of New York City, on Human Service News and Views.

Worker Coops and Labor, Past and Future

By Liam K. Lynch

In a city becoming increasingly unaffordable and out of touch with the needs of city workers, and an urban society based in consumption, hyper-gentrification, luxury, commercial and tourist real estate, the need for economic alternatives and an offensive strategy to combat unsustainable practices looms large.

A study published earlier this year by the Center for Economic Opportunity revealed that almost half of New York City’s population is living near poverty. Moreover, City Comptroller Scott Stringer reported that over a period of 12 years between 2000-2012, rents increased by over 67%, while real median income dropped by almost 5%. With these numbers playing a real role in the lives of many here in the city, something needs to be done.

Worker-owned cooperatives may be an answer. Continue reading Worker Coops and Labor, Past and Future

Murphy Alum Featured in Public Employee Press

This past summer, Tracye Hawthorne, graduate of Murphy’s Cornell/CUNY Labor Relations Certificate Program, was featured in DC37’s Public Employee Press. The article, entitled The Making of an Activist, describes Hawthorne’s journey to becoming shop steward at Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549.

From the profile, by Gregory N. Heires:

Arkansas – (a “right-to-work” for less state that prohibits union security agreements) – isn’t exactly a hotbed of union activity. Most workers there lack the job security and workplace protections that so many in New York City have.

So when Arkansas native Tracye Hawthorne moved to New York City over five years ago, she was only too happy to find a job as a unionized civil servant.

Continue reading Murphy Alum Featured in Public Employee Press

New York Power

By Joseph J. Cunningham

The following is an excerpt from Murphy adjunct Prof. Joseph J. Cunningham’s new book New York Power, which tells the story of the development of today’s New York City electric utility system.

New York City has long represented one of the most concentrated urban developments in the world. That density has placed unique constraints on every aspect of life. Electric light and power appeared during the 1880s, but much development was required to supply urban service at a cost that would make possible large-scale consumption. Innovation was needed most in midtown Manhattan, where the sheer density of electrical load overwhelmed the early systems and which continues to be the greatest concentration of electrical load in the world. The first public service was initiated in 1880 with the illumination of Broadway, Madison Park and some businesses by arc lights of the Brush Electric Company. Two years later, Thomas Edison introduced incandescent light service to the offices and businesses of the financial district from his station on Pearl Street. While that installation entered the record books, his long term objective was the midtown area. Edison considered the establishment of electric service in the area of the West Twenties and Thirties vital to the future of his company. Continue reading New York Power

Black Friday Protests

On the eve of what is — for many Americans — the biggest consumer holiday of the year, many of us in the labor movement are making plans to voice our discontent with the exploitative practices that fuel Black Friday.

Check out blackfridayprotests.org to learn how you can come out tomorrow and support Walmart workers in their fight for rights and fair standards.

Need some convincing? Watch this video from Robert Reich on How 1.4m Americans Could Get a Raise Right Now:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/_-SMetMkcVI]

Photo by UFCW Local400 via flickr (CC-BY).

Italians Demonstrate in Opposition to Jobs Act

In Italy, a proposed change in labor laws has demonstrators taking the streets. Known as the Jobs Act, this as-yet unwritten law is seen as a “rolling back” of labor protections, that many protestors see as an erosion of rights for those living in increasingly precarious situations.

According to an article in the New York Times by Elisabetta Povoledo last week,

…in a country where the first article of the Constitution declares it a republic “founded on work,” rolling back labor protections is not to be taken lightly. It is particularly telling that many of those opposing Mr. Renzi’s plans are young people.

They are deeply skeptical that the proposed change would in fact open jobs to them — so many other overhaul efforts before it have failed to do so. Instead, they are demanding the same guarantees that their parents have had, something it is not at all clear Italy can still afford.

“All he’s doing is destroying the rights of full-time workers without giving rights to people in precarious job situations,” said Francesco Raparelli, 36, one of the coordinators of a nationwide strike last Friday by thousands of workers who hold temporary contracts.

Continue reading Italians Demonstrate in Opposition to Jobs Act

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