Tag Archives: feature

Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

By Rebecca Lurie

Black History Month is here — and we must declare Black Lives Matter well beyond any one month.

Dr. Phil Thompson shares some important facts and insights in a recent article in the New Labor Forum, “The Future of Urban Populism: Will Cities Turn the Political Tide? He clearly lays out that the generations of inequality and disparate opportunities between the races stems from capitalism and its use of race as a tool to create and maintain the underclass, slavery, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, poverty, low mortality rates and economic injustice.

Thompson identifies all the challenges for a new progressivism, and yet notes that, “…change is very possible. There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of small initiatives underway in cities to disrupt or reverse these dominant negative trends.” He then challenges us to make a movement of these efforts. Continue reading Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

Avoiding Concessions Under Trump

In a recent In These Times article (When Raising the Minimum Wage is a Bad Thing), Murphy Prof. Stephanie Luce and Jen Kern warn of the perils of conceding ground on minimum wage in the name of short term gains:

First, we cannot accept short-term gains in the form of a higher wage if they mean concessions that undermine our ability to organize over the long haul. Such concessions could include the ability to form unions, engage in collective bargaining, strike and protest. For example, a minimum wage increase that comes alongside cuts to the Department of Labor’s inspection staff would be a major setback. A minimum wage increase that comes at the price of “right-to-work” provisions would be disastrous.

The minimum wage is a valuable tool for raising the incomes of millions of workers, but it loses much of its value if worker organizations and movements are too weak to enforce the law. It doesn’t help people without jobs and only minimally helps those with few hours of work. Most importantly, minimum wages have the greatest impact when workers have unions to protect their jobs and help them move up to higher paid positions.

Second, we must be wary of attempts to divide our movement. The first minimum wage, which was passed in 1938, excluded domestic workers and farmworkers—occupations that were dominated by African-American workers. Today, the federal law sets a much lower minimum wage for tipped workers—a practice that disproportionately hurts women and people of color. An increase to the minimum wage must benefit everyone, including farmworkers and people who work for tips.

It’s also quite possible that a higher minimum wage could be linked to concessions on policies that impact unemployed workers, through cuts to unemployment benefits and the safety net. If we accept an increase to the minimum wage on these terms, we will drive a further wedge between the so-called “deserving” and “non-deserving” poor. Indeed, our ability to win depends on whether this fight is an inclusive one. 

They remind us:

Our job isn’t to find common ground with Trump or to figure out ways to work with a hostile administration that will put forward terrible deals. Our job is to build organizations and make our movements more powerful.

For more on the role of unions, trade and infrastructure under Trump, read the full article at In These Times.

Photo by Stephen L via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

To be eligible for the scholarship, you must apply and be accepted into one of our qualifying MA or BA academic programs.

MA or BA application Deadlines:  February 6, 2017

For information about the MA and BA admissions or to RSVP for an Open House:

• Graduate students should contact Laurie Kellogg, Labor Programs Specialist, at 212-642-2055; 718-440-1550 or at Laurie.Kellogg@cuny.edu.

• Undergraduates should contact Cherise Mullings, Enrollment Specialist, Urban Studies, at 212-642-2059 or at Cherise.Mullings@cuny.edu.

Please attend an Open House at 6 pm on October 6th or October 27th at The Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd St., 18th Floor, NYC.

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is pleased to announce the third year of their national scholarship competition, which is dedicated to supporting diversity in leadership in the labor movement and in labor studies.

Apply Today!

Application Deadline is: February 27th, 2017

If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for equity within the community, workplace, or the world, then the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor will help you achieve those goals. As a scholarship recipient, you will:

  • Earn an MA in Labor Studies or BA in Urban and Community Studies
  • Advance professionally and personally in a supportive environment
  • Explore the dynamics of urban life, community empowering, and labor organizing
  • Strengthen your ability to advocate for labor rights, stronger communities, and social justice
  • Receive up to $30,000 for graduate study or up to $20,000 for undergraduate study

Eligibility Requirements

  • For graduate scholarship: First-time entering students in the MA in Labor Studies degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • For undergraduate scholarship: First-time entering students or continuing students in the BA in Urban and Community Studies degree program, with a concentration in Labor Studies and a minimum 2.5 GPA

For eligibility information and to apply, please click here or call /email Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083.

Application deadline is February 27, 2017

Video: The Left Wing of the Possible

On Friday, September 16th, the Murphy Institute and the New Labor Forum hosted a conversation about the possibilities and potentials unleashed this election season. We heard from Steve Cobble, Mark M. Griffith, Bob Master and Nina Turner about what might be required to maintain the momentum and build a movement of the 99 percent, and how Bernie Sanders supporters are building on the progressive message carried through the 2016 primaries. What are the new possibilities and challenges? What comes next?

Watch a clip from the event here:

 

Announcing: the Murphy Institute Community and Worker Ownership Project

The Murphy Institute has a strong history of helping students and workers understand how to improve their lives at work and in their communities. To that end, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new project at CUNY at the Murphy Institute, Community and Worker Ownership Project (CWOP).

In this age of burgeoning inequality and pervasive challenges to political and workplace democracy, this project seeks to support undertakings in worker-owned cooperatives and worker participation and control, as well as grassroots leadership in community development.

Help us create a program that meets the needs of our community by participating in the CWOP Engagement Survey.

The CWOP intends to serve in these five areas:

Training and workshops

Bring non-credit courses and workshops to CUNY sites for existing and potential cooperative worker/owners

College degrees and certifications

Design credit courses, certificates and degree programs with scholars to expand education options for economic democracy and cooperative ownership

Business conversions and start-up

Support expansion of coop businesses with organized labor, worker centers, community based organizations and industry sectors

Public programming

Host and sponsor forums and conferences or serve as a speaker

Research

Initiate or share in research to evaluate economic and social justice impact of cooperative ownership and democratic engagement

Get involved!

You may be interested in learning more or participating in developing the work with us. You may have ideas or interests that can help grow the movement for economic democracy in your sphere of influence and impact and we can help. We want to hear from you!

Want to make the program as effective and useful as possible? Fill out our survey today to help shape the CWOP!

Email Rebecca Lurie at Rebecca<dot>Lurie<at>cuny<dot>edu to share your thoughts or ideas or to express your interest in this project.

Photo: Sergey Galyonkin CC-BY-SA