The New Labor Forum has 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.
The May 2018 issue of New Labor Forum is out. On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the journal features an article by Reuel Schiller measuring the magnitude of King’s loss in relation to the dissolution of the Poor People’s Movement he helped birth and the subsequent suspension in large-scale, multiracial organizing for economic justice.
As the Poor People’s Campaign seeks to end the poverty that plagues approximately 40 million Americans, we would all do well to reassess the War on Poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson four years before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. In a 2014 article for New Labor Forum, Frances Fox Piven argues that, contrary to accepted wisdom, that the War on Poverty was a largely victorious engagement which mobilized pressure from below reinforced by the Democratic Party’s need to shore up its dwindling political reach in the North, producing a measurable reduction in poverty over the next twenty years. Yet now, Piven notes, not only is poverty back, but the faces of poverty have changed. The most telling difference is that, when Michael Harrington wrote The Other America and Lyndon Johnson took up arms, poverty was thought to afflict people cut off from employment in the mainstream economy, like older people no longer working or those living in Appalachia or the country’s urban ghettos. Today poverty has become, as it once was back in the 19th century, a function of exploitation at work (not mostly exclusion from work) so that somewhere between 30 and 40 million people make up what we call “the working poor.” And it is this changed nature of poverty that the new Poor People’s Campaign explicitly intends to address.
Co-sponsored by The Murphy Institute’s Labor Studies Program, CUNY and The NYC Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network
In recent years, structural changes in the labor market, skyrocketing inequality, and rapid technological innovation have sparked renewed debate and speculation about the future of capitalism and the future of work itself. This conference features leading scholars, journalists and activists’ perspectives on these issues.
The day is structured to engage three key debates:
The impact of technological innovation, especially robots and artificial intelligence, on workers and on the labor market
The vast increase in capacity for surveillance and data collection by high-tech firms and its implications for daily life as well as for the workplace
The impact of the ecological crisis and the political failure to address it for the future of capitalism and the future of work.
The conference has three panels, each devoted to one of these debates. Each panel includes one keynote presentation from an expert on the topic, comments from two respondents, followed by discussion with the audience.
Future Hindsight is a podcast hosted by Mila Atmos where civic engagement meets civil discourse. On last week’s show, Atmos interviewed Murphy Professor Ruth Milkman, where the two discussed the role of unions for workers, the main factors of de-unionization, and the potential leadership by millennials in this space.
Students and faculty of the Murphy Institute and Cornell University Labor Relations Certificate Program gathered on Saturday, April 21st to discuss the Future of Work. The annual spring conference created and facilitated by current Cornell-CUNY students featured veteran leaders within New York City’s labor movement. Among the guest speakers were Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative for popular democracy, Garrett O’Connor, experienced organizer and labor strategist, Murphy student Alexander Mason, and community, labor, and anti-war activist Eljeer Hawkins.
The conference focused on the impact of Artificial Intelligence innovation within the workplace and its repercussions to the existing and future workforce. Students and speakers collaborated to discuss how the industries of New York City, specifically the transit, healthcare, education, retail and construction industries are being altered by A.I., robotics, and other technologies. In group sessions, students discussed how the future of work will contribute to or reduce existing inequalities and inequities within our labor system, in addition to the effects technological innovations will play in relation to ongoing social, racial, and environmental inequities. The conference laid the foundation for the upcoming series The Future of Capitalism and The Future of Workto be held at the Murphy Institute this Thursday—May 4th. Continue reading Photos: Cornell-Cuny Labor Relations Program Spring Conference→
Last year, the Community and Worker Ownership Project and John Mollenkopf at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center were pleased to host Professor Sofia Arana Landin for research on cooperative economics in New York City. Her work was extensive in building foundational thought for a comparative study of cooperative enterprises’ success and challenges in the US as compared to other countries, especially in the European Union.
Professor Arana teaches taxation law and cooperatives at the public university in San Sebastian, Spain. Arriving to the states shortly after the inauguration of the 45th president for this research, the juxtaposition of opportunities and constraints was almost too much to bear. Nevertheless, she persisted.