The right-wing’s decades-long attack on public sector unionism is slated for a hearing before the Supreme Court later this fall in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The September 2017 issue of New Labor Forum contemplates the probable implications and strategic options facing public sector unions once the ruling is handed down.
Also under contemplation in the Fall 2017 issue is the historically troubled, but occasionally productive, relationship between organized labor and civil rights organizations. Strengthening that alliance in the years ahead will prove critical to the fate of labor and racial justice movements. The journal examines the historical obstacles to such alliances, and suggests new grounds on which to reinvigorate those efforts under current circumstances.
On Friday, September 15th, members of the Murphy Institute community gathered for a discussion about gerrymandering. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case that deals with the legality of partisan gerrymandering, this panel explored the history of gerrymandering and the effects of recent changes in technology, data mining, and dark money.
Missed the event or want to see it again? You can watch it here:
David Daley, author, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy and former Editor in chief of Salon.com
Lauren Jones, National Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
Deuel Ross, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Jerry G. Vattamala, Director, Democracy Program, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Moderator:John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate School and consortial faculty, Murphy Institute
With Labor Day behind us and the 2017-18 academic year ahead, I want to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the entire Murphy Institute community and to share some of this past year’s achievements and some future prospects.
Our accomplishments this year have been notable. In June, the CUNY Board of Trustees approved a resolution that will elevate the Murphy Institute to a new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. The Board’s decision was a milestone not only for the Institute but for the labor movement and the broader community. The establishment of the new School will mean more resources; a wider array of programs; more academic support for our students; additions to our already distinguished faculty; and added luster to the undergraduate and graduate degrees we will award.
The effort to establish this School has been a four-year initiative, spearheaded by labor leaders on Murphy’s Advisory Board. These efforts gained wide support from the State Legislature (which, in April, re-allocated $1.5 million toward the School) and the City Council (which, in June, allocated nearly $1 million). Our student ambassadors, faculty, and staff also played key roles. A great deal of work lies ahead as we make the transition from Institute to School. We are deeply grateful to the CUNY Board of Trustees and the Chancellor for establishing the new School of Labor and Urban Studies. Continue reading A Message From Our Director→
Each season, the Murphy Institute brings incisive public programming about the political and social issues facing our city, our country and our world. This fall, we’re going deep on our democracy, our history and ourselves, exploring where we’ve been and where we might go from here.
We begin this season with debate and strategic thinking regarding two major cases before the Supreme Court, opening with Gill v. Whitford on the practice of redistricting through partisan gerrymandering. We will then turn to the future of public sector unions, made precarious by the pending Janus v. AFSCME case. We will also be looking closer to home by examining, together with Hunter College’s National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, the 50th anniversary of the the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, commonly known as the Taylor Law. Also of special concern to New Yorkers is the City’s current transit crisis, an issue we’ll explore in a forum that will discuss solutions to enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city. We will round out the year by marking the 20th anniversary of the Murphy Institute’s journal, New Labor Forum, and use this occasion to assess efforts to rebuild a working-class movement that the journal has for two decades debated and discussed.
The New Labor Forum has launched 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.
For the past half-century, Labor Day has more often than not presented the occasion for a sobering assessment of the diminished power of organized labor and the resulting decline in living standards for the entire working-class – from wage stagnation and precarious work to the whittling away of employer-based health and pension coverage. And this Labor Day forces an even grimmer-than-usual reckoning. The fact that, only a week ago, the Trump regime inducted the likes of former President Ronald Reagan into the Labor Department Hall of Honor is emblematic of the crisis. With the addition of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the right-wing’s decades-long attack on public sector unionism is likely to score a big victory in the Janus v. AFSCME case, slated for a hearing later this fall. In theSeptember 2017 issue of New Labor Forum, rolling off press now, we contemplate the probable implications and strategic options facing public sector unions once the ruling is handed down. Included in this newsletter is an article from the issue by Chris Brooks, arguing against a strategy of members-only unionism advocated by some on the left in response to the predicted end of the agency shop.
Also under contemplation in the Fall 2017 issue, is the historically troubled, but occasionally productive, relationship between organized labor and civil rights organizations. Strengthening that alliance in the years ahead will prove critical to the fate of labor and racial justice movements. We offer here a piece from the journal by Brandon Terry and Jason Lee, examining the historical obstacles to such alliances, and suggesting new grounds on which to reinvigorate those efforts under current circumstances.
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