This Is What Energy Democracy Looks Like

Profit-driven approaches to our energy supply are not working. Emissions continue to rise and our climate is rapidly changing. How can we move toward “energy democracy,” shifting to a more sustainable, equitable energy system? And what’s the role of trade unions in getting us there?

This video from RLS–NYC and Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) points the way:


Photo by David Blaikie via flickr (CC-BY).

News Round-Up

Happy Friday! Each week, we come across interesting articles and stories around labor, community, and struggles for equity and justice in our changing world. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve found and liked on the world wide web in recent days:

  • Over at Al Jazeera, Sarah Jaffe writes about the growing cooperative movement in New York City and beyond. (Can worker cooperatives alleviate income inequality?) Roots the present moment in the larger history of cooperative. Lots of exciting work brewing for the future.
  • On Shareable, Nathan Schneider has been writing about how the so-called sharing economy might be disrupted by projects that are actually user-owned. Last month, he wrote a great piece called Owning is the New Sharing about projects that are trying to combine the ease of peer-to-peer sharing platforms with ownership structures that are decentralized and autonomous. This week, he interviewed founders of La’Zooz: The Decentralized, Crypto-Alternative to Uber.
  • At the Washington Post today, Lydia DePillis describes organizing efforts at Politico — which, if successful, would be the first organizing campaign to successfully get off the ground at a major new media company.  (Why Internet journalists don’t organize)
  • Last week, the battle for fair wages and labor standards for fast food workers took on a new dimension, as a group of McDonald’s workers in Virgina filed suit against the company for alleged racial and sexual harassment in its stores. At stake is whether McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for the actions of its franchise operators, per the NLRB decision from this past June. Read more at Gawker.

New Issue of New Labor Forum: Battles Over Education and Immigration

The latest issue of New Labor Forum is about to reach our print subscribers at home. But whether you subscribe or not, you can access our free articles right away on our new and improved website!
A number of articles in the January 2015 deal with political battles surrounding education:
The issue also provides:
See them at the new Labor Forum website, now at Those with a print subscription can access all the articles with your online access password. To subscribe, please visit our subscription link with Sage Publishing.
From all of us at New Labor Forum – have a wonderful 2015!
Paula Finn & Steve Fraser
New Labor Forum
PS: You can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook – thank you!

Observations From a Trip to China: Part I

Photo: Professor Lu Zhang speaks about labor conditions inside Chinese auto factories.

By Stephanie Luce

I recently returned from two weeks in China, where I participated in a scholar exchange sponsored by the American Sociology Association, Labor and Labor Movements section. The exchange was the third piece of an ongoing effort to increase communication and collaboration between Chinese and US scholars. There were 8 sociologists in our delegation, along with Katie Quan, the coordinator of the program.

We spent time in Beijing at a conference on labor relations, then meeting with union officials and organizers from worker centers. I then spent a week in Hong Kong meeting with more labor activists, as well as people involved in the Umbrella movement. I’ll report on what I learned about the labor movement here, and in a second post I will write about the Umbrella movement. Continue reading Observations From a Trip to China: Part I

A Survey of Community and Labor Perspectives in the Wake of the Eric Garner Case

By Donald LaHuffman 

Produced for “Labor and Media Studies” with Prof. Ari Paul, Fall 2014

The United States recently exploded in protest around the country as citizens mobilized to show displeasure at the Staten Island Jury findings. The jurors decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Pantaleo had allegedly held Garner in an illegal choke hold until his death, despite Garner’s pleas of not being able to breathe during the encounter. Ensuing local and national demonstrations connected Garner’s death to the earlier police shooting of Michael Brown who was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Community organizers have included mothers in New York City who have lost their sons to alleged police brutality in previous years in these actions. In my graduate Labor Studies class “Labor and Media” taught by Ari Paul during the fall 2014 semester, my classmates and I met five mothers who told their stories. These mothers told the stories to make sure that they were not forgotten. Continue reading A Survey of Community and Labor Perspectives in the Wake of the Eric Garner Case

What does it mean for public education, CUNY, and the city when top immigrant and minority students can’t get into our best schools?  

Editor’s Note (4.13.15): The original article from the Atlantic has been significantly revised due to framing and factual errors regarding acceptance and enrollment trends. You can read the latest response from Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees at CUNY, here.

In “When Being a Valedictorian Isn’t Enough,” LynNell Hancock and Meredith Kolodner explore the ramifications of the raising of admission standards at the top-five CUNY colleges – Baruch, Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens, and City.  CUNY’s top schools increasingly admit a disproportionate number of white and Asian freshmen, while admitting fewer students from New York City’s high schools.  This drive to increase the prestige of the top-five schools has left New York’s black and Latino high school students crowding into two-year community colleges with much lower chances of ever successful completing a Bachelor’s degree.  Hancock and Kolodner examine the impact on the changes on New York City’s students, high schools, and on the community at large.  Who is getting left behind by a system that less-and-less reflects the demographic make-up of New York’s public schools…and is there a way out?

You can find a response to this article from CUNY here.

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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