Tag Archives: feature

What is Worker Cooperative Development?

Want more on worker cooperatives, solidarity economies, and the role of organized labor? Join us at the Murphy Institute on December 4th for our upcoming Labor Breakfast Forum, Solidarity Economies: Worker Coops.

This article originally appeared at Grassroots Economic Organizing.

By Christopher Michael

In the 1980s, the British government supported a comprehensive system of local worker cooperative support organizations (CSOs). The first CSO was formed in Scotland in 1976. By 1986, approximately 100 CSOs spotted the country — with higher concentrations in urban areas. About 80 of these CSOs were funded — mostly by local municipalities — with full-time staff at an average of three employees. In tandem, Parliament chartered a national “Co-operative Development Agency” with a 1978 bill — which aided the growth of local CSOs, served as a “safety net” for regions without CSOs, collected statistics, and acted as government liaison with regard to new legislation.

These government-funded support organizations engaged primarily with low-income, ethnic minority, and female entrepreneurs. CSO staff members provided training courses on worker cooperatives, direct technical assistance, and also loan financing at an average of $50,000 (current U.S. dollars) per worker cooperative. This ten-year experiment produced approximately 2,000 new worker cooperatives — and almost none exist today. Continue reading What is Worker Cooperative Development?

Raise the Age!

By Ken Francis

It’s October, and a group of students are lined up against a fence outside their school, bundled up against the unexpected frost. Hoodies are pulled taut, hands are gloved and beanies with bright pom-poms are pulled low. These students, aged 10 through 15, are waiting to shake their principal’s hand before they enter the school building. Afterward, they’ll bound into the building and bounce against each other like so many marbles in a bowl. They are disorderly, they are playful, they are children. Or are they?

How much will any of them mature in the next year? At 16, could they appropriately be considered adults? And, if one of them makes a mistake and commits a crime, should s/he be prosecuted as an adult? Continue reading Raise the Age!

Irene Garcia on Civil Disobedience, Arrest & Union Solidarity

All photos by Dave Sanders and Erik McGregor via PSC-CUNY Facebook page.

Two weeks ago, PSC-CUNY members demonstrated in response to 6 years without a contract at CUNY Central Administrative offices, where about 50 people were arrested. Four Murphy Institute community members were arrested in the action. Irene Garcia, Academic Advisor for the Labor Studies Master of Arts program at the Murphy Institute, answers questions about her experience. 

Q. Why did you participate in yesterday’s CD action?

 A. Although all CUNY employees have worthy demands, the biggest motivation for me to participate in the civil disobedience action was to state my discontent with the unfair wages and job security situation that adjunct professors face. As someone who deeply cares about public higher education as the only option for lifting people out of poverty, it is unacceptable to me that thousands of highly educated and caring professionals who teach our low-income students are in poverty themselves! 

Q. What was most striking about the experience?

A. That the policemen were very supportive, to the point of cheering, and expressing that we should continue the fight for all. They are also renegotiating their contract.11028013_882735341780719_3145017127581093257_o

Q. How did you experience the PSC and CUNY community’s support (e.g. students, other unions)?

A. Everybody was really supportive! I really felt the power of the Union. I knew people were going to be out there, since we are very committed people, but it did take me by surprise receiving thank you emails from colleagues. Continue reading Irene Garcia on Civil Disobedience, Arrest & Union Solidarity

Can the Bay Area Tech Economy Embrace Equity Before It’s Too Late?

Featured photo credit: SEIU-USWW

By Chris Schildt, PolicyLink

This post originally appeared at New Economy Week 2015: From Austerity to Prosperity.

Uber recently purchased one of the largest office spaces in downtown Oakland, California, with plans to move3,000 of its workers there by 2017. For a city facing a housing crisis and rapid displacement of Black families and low-income communities, many fear this act will accelerate gentrification pressures. It has also led to some cautious optimism for an opportunity to make Oakland a leader in what Mayor Libby Schaaf has called techquity: “fostering our local technology sector’s growth so it leads to shared prosperity.”

Tech companies can play a role in advancing an equitable economy, but they will first have to confront a deeply inequitable status quo. The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest levels of inequality of any region in the country, and it is growing at an alarming pace. Unequal access to business and job opportunities have deepened racial economic gaps – Black and Latino workers earn a median wage that is $10 an hour less than White workers in the Bay Area, and these racial inequities exist across all education levels. The tech-driven “innovation economy” can reverse these trends. But to understand how, it’s important to examine how the innovation economy works. Continue reading Can the Bay Area Tech Economy Embrace Equity Before It’s Too Late?

Bringing Neighborhoods Wealth — Not Gentrification

By Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley 

This article was originally featured at Yes! Magazine and adapted from Cities Building Community Wealth, a project of The Democracy Collaborative, for New Economy Week.

In cities across the nation, a few enjoy rising affluence while many struggle to get by.

An August 2015 study by The Century Foundation reported that—after a dramatic decline in concentrated poverty between 1990 and 2000—poverty has since reconcentrated. Nationwide, the number of people  living in high-poverty ghettos and slums has nearly doubled since 2000. This situation is created in part by the practices of traditional economic development, which prioritize corporate subsidy after corporate subsidy over the needs of the local economy. Current trends threaten to worsen, unless we can answer the design challenge before us.

Can we create an economic system—beginning at the local level—that builds the wealth and prosperity of everyone? Continue reading Bringing Neighborhoods Wealth — Not Gentrification

Stephanie Luce Talks Civil Disobedience, Arrest at PSC Action

All photos via PSC-CUNY.org.

On Wednesday, PSC-CUNY members demonstrated in response to 6 years without a contract at CUNY Central Administrative offices, where about 50 people were arrested. Prof. Stephanie Luce, one of many Murphy Institute community members who participated in the action, and one of four who were arrested, talks about her experience below:

Q. Why did you participate in the CD action?

A. I decided to participate in the civil disobedience action because I want to defend the idea of CUNY: a great public institution that is supported by the city and state. CUNY was created to provide a top-quality education to the people of New York City, and it is also a large employer providing good jobs to tens of thousands of people.110415rally30 Continue reading Stephanie Luce Talks Civil Disobedience, Arrest at PSC Action