Tag Archives: feature

Diversity Scholarship: Spring 2017 Symposium

By Janet Leslie

On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, the Murphy Institute hosted the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor Spring 2017 Scholar Symposium. Michelle Akyempong, Vice President of Legislation & Political Action for District Council 37, Local 371 attended as this term’s special guest.

Since the inception of the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship program, symposiums have been held at the start of each Fall and Spring term, allowing the program’s budding scholars to interact with practitioners, researchers and scholars in the fields of labor and urban studies.

To this end, we invite prominent members of these fields to join us for a roundtable talk, where they share reflections about their personal challenges and conquests on their educational and/or professional journeys. Past guests have included: Kitty Krupat, labor activist, organizer and associate director, emeritus JSMI; James Steele, labor studies adjunct faculty JSMI; and Ydanis Rodriguez, district 10 – NYC council member. We thank each of the past presenters who have truly inspired us to our better selves and willingly and generously shared their time with our scholars. Continue reading Diversity Scholarship: Spring 2017 Symposium

Taking a Systems Approach to Social Impact

By Rebecca Lurie

In a recent paper on the Pinkerton Foundation website, Steve Dawson describes how social purposes business can accomplish business growth and social impact:

In a burst of entrepreneurial spirit, the workforce development field is showing new enthusiasm for an old idea: creating “social enterprises” to employ low-income jobseekers.

The theory is enormously appealing. We can create good jobs for constituents who have a hard time finding work elsewhere and the profits will help fund our nonprofit organizations. The reality, however, is far more complicated.

He then draws out a series of recommendations for business. I would punctuate one aspect of what he recommends to draw together the best practices of workforce development and business development for a social purpose:

Even more powerful is a ‘systems strategy’ that leverages change, beyond the walls of the enterprise, into the broader labor market.

When we go into the business of a social enterprise for social impact, we are aiming to improve the lives of the workers and the people in the community where the business exists. By systems thinking, we think yet broader than the labor market strategy and pay attention to the community where the industry exists. Continue reading Taking a Systems Approach to Social Impact

Event: Dilma Rousseff: The Attack on Democracy & Human Rights in Brazil (4/14)

Friday, April 14th | 6:30pm
Murphy Institute
25 W. 43 Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY

RSVP HERE

CUNY’s Murphy Institute is pleased to host a presentation by Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, co-organized with the Committee Defend Democracy in Brazil/New York.

Brazil’s former president, Rousseff − impeached in August 2016 in what many have called a “soft coup” based on what analysts almost universally have described as minor and highly irregular charges − will discuss the attack on, and current efforts to defend, democracy, labor rights, and social and economic justice in Brazil.

Brazil, whose young democracy was re-established in 1985 after 21 years of violent military rule, has achieved huge growth in the recent years, lifting 45 million people out of extreme poverty. Under the democratic leadership of the Workers’ Party, led initially by President Lula da Silva and subsequently by President Rousseff, Brazil saw dramatic changes towards a more equal society. Advancements under the Workers Party have included an enormous expansion of the middle class, steady increases in life expectancy, and the country’s removal in 2014 from the UN Map of Hunger.  Rousseff is currently undertaking an international tour to discuss with concerned people throughout the world what is at stake: Brazilian democracy, and the historic gains in the rights of workers, women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, communities of color and of the poor.

This event will also feature a photo exhibition highlighting important moments of the struggle from activist groups around the world.

Please join us for this historic event!

Press registration/inquiries: defenddemocracyinbrazil@gmail.com

Fall Graduate Class: Economic Democracy Against Economic Crisis

Taught by Evan Casper-Futterman
With Guest Lectures by Dario Azzellini

This class will be cross-listed in the Masters Programs of both Labor and Urban Studies. Speak to your adviser about registration.
Monday nights at the Murphy Institute

In the 1950s, labor unions claimed membership in 35% of the workforce. Today, density of labor unions outside of government employees is 6.7%. This precipitous decline in the economic and political power of working people begs the question: who will act as the countervailing economic and political forces to capital and inequality in the 21st century? This course will identify and examine multiple forms of workers’ self-management and cooperative enterprises and institutions throughout history, both as a reaction to economic crisis and as a coherent vision for a humane and just society. The course explicitly approaches cooperatives and self-management not as an “alternative business model,” but as part of labor history and labor struggles. This reconnects the idea of cooperatives to their origins and shows the potential of cooperatives in putting forward different values for a more just and participatory politics, economics, and society.

Faculty:

Evan Casper-Futterman is a 3rd generation New Yorker living in the Bronx. He earned a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans in 2011, was a White House Intern in the Spring of 2012 in the Domestic Policy Council’s Office of Urban Affairs and a Research Fellow for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Bloustein School of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, studying economic democracy and economic development. He is on the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC). His writing has been published in The Lens and The Huffington Post, as well as the peer-reviewed Berkeley Planning Journal. He contributed a chapter in the edited volume, The Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (2013).

Dario Azzellini, Murphy Institute visiting scholar, is a political scientist, lecturer at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, writer and filmmaker. He has published several books, essays and documentaries about social movements, privatization of military services, migration and racism, including An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy. His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary militancy, migration and racism, people’s power and self-administration, workers control and extensive case studies in Latin America.

New Labor Forum Highlights: Mar. 6th, 2017

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.

This year, International Women’s Day (March 8) is being celebrated in the U.S. at a higher pitch than usual. The election of Donald Trump has led to an upsurge in organizing and activism. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed  the massive Women’s Marches in cities all over the country and, indeed, the world; a February 16th Day Without Immigrants and a less successful call for another general strike on February 17th; and the current call for a global women’s strike on International Women’s Day.

This newsletter opens with an informative and lucid overview by Diane Elson of  the current global state of gender inequality, as well as  policy recommendations to remedy the crisis.  Elison’s article is provided here as a coming attraction to the May 2017 issue of New Labor Forum. The issues she raises form part of the animating spirit of the call for a  Women’s Strike on March 8., organized  by a coalition of  women working closely with the venerable Global Women’s Strike, an international organization that has existed since 1972. Here we also offer the link to the  promotional video for the strike.

General strikes, or days of action that are meant to resemble a strike, are gaining in currency. An example of recent experimentation with a general strike was the February 16th ‘Day Without Immigrants’, described here by Dan DiMaggio and Sonia Singh in Labor Notes.  NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein addresses the meaningful difference between ‘weekend protest’ vs. ‘weekday strike action’ and why it matters, in No More Saturday Marches, published this week in Jacobin. We also include Francine Prose’s essay in The Guardian, offering a full-throated argument for  the general strike as a tactic. And we close with Alexandria Neason’s meditation in the Village Voice – Is America Ready for a General Strike?

Table of Contents

  1. Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap by Diane Elson
  2. Women of America: we’re going on strike.
  3. Video: International Women’s Strike US – Promotional Video
  4. Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants by Dan DiMaggio, Sonia Singh
  5. No More Saturday Marches by NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein
  6. Forget protest. Trump’s actions warrant a general national strike by Francine Prose
  7. Is America Ready for a General Strike? by Alexandria Neason

Photo by Garry Knight via flickr (CC-BY)

Contingent Faculty of the World Unite!

This post was originally featured in the New Labor Forum. Want to dig deeper into organizing strategies for contingent faculty? Join us at our upcoming forum Organizing the Academic Precariat: Perspectives on National Trends and Recent Successes on March 24th and hear from Malini Cadambi Daniel and others.

By Malini Cadambi Daniel

The once hallowed and secure work life of American university faculty has for the past quarter century been in turmoil. Being a profes­sor was once a respected, stable profession, but is now increasingly characterized by low pay, minimal benefits, and no job security. An expectation of tenure—the permanent status that was once a hallmark of the profession—is replaced by the reality of contingency, which means that college instructors must reapply to teach courses every year, or even every semes­ter. This new contingency is not a temporary employment arrangement, nor is it confined to a sector of higher education such as community colleges. According to the Coalition of the Academic Workforce’s 2014 report, contingent faculty now comprise more than 75 percent of the instructional faculty in the United States. Faculty contingency is now the norm.

However, contingent faculty are confronting these changes to their profession by organizing and forming unions, the likes of which have not been seen since the graduate student organizing of the 1990s. Continue reading Contingent Faculty of the World Unite!