Tag Archives: feature

Sean Sweeney Talks Paris, Climate on City Watch

Last week, Murphy Professor Sean Sweeney appeared on City Watch to talk with Mark Dunlea about the upcoming climate summit in Paris, and the fight against “not letting science get in the way of business as usual.” The two discuss the climate justice movement, mobilizations and global emissions.

Listen below.

Photo by John Duffy via flickr.

NYCHA, Representation & Service Provision: A Student’s Perspective

Featured photo via Urban Upbound

By Paula Bonfatti

For the past three months, I have interned in the research department of Urban Upbound, a nonprofit organization that provides services to public housing residents in Queens, New York. Urban Upbound supplies this community with tools and resources needed to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency; their vision is to help residents break cycles of poverty. They primarily serve the Queensbridge Housing Development, which — with its 3,142 apartments — is known as America’s largest operating public housing project.

Master of Arts in Urban Studies Candidate Paula Bonfatti Lima
Master of Arts in Urban Studies Candidate Paula Bonfatti Lima

In New York City, there are over 607,000 people living in public housing developments under the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). 110,000 (18.1%) of these residents are children under 18 years old. Historically, public housing developments have been criticized by the mainstream as isolated, low-income urban population. Some critics contend that this housing creates vertical structural poverty in socioeconomically depressed neighborhoods. In addition, critics charge that these concentrated pockets of poverty are subject to high crime rates, unemployment and low turnover. However, NYCHA has 328 public housing units throughout the City’s five boroughs and serves 175,747 families, and has committed itself to playing an important role in fighting urban poverty and leveraging economically vulnerable communities. Continue reading NYCHA, Representation & Service Provision: A Student’s Perspective

The End of Tipping?

The food & labor worlds have been abuzz with the news that acclaimed New York restauranteur Danny Meyer has eliminated tipping in his restaurants in favor of higher hourly wages for workers.

This comes on the heels of a similar trend in other cities: in Seattle, for instance, a rising minimum wage has led many restauranteurs to raise prices. Some restauranteurs have compensated by eliminating tipping from their restaurants; in other cases, patrons are choosing not to tip, sensing, begrudgingly or not, that their servers are finally being well-compensated.

A catastrophic disruption to the food service industry as we know it? Hardly. Labor advocates and consumers alike have been praising the trend — with some even arguing that it doesn’t go far enough. Continue reading The End of Tipping?

Remembering Rosalyn Baxandall (1939-2015)

[10/19/15: Murphy Prof. Ruth Milkman wrote a short piece commemorating Rosalyn Baxandall’s life for Jacobin Magazine. Check it out here. – Ed.]

Professor Rosalyn Baxandall died Tuesday evening. Following her retirement from SUNY Old Westbury, the Murphy Institute was very fortunate to have Ros come teach labor history. Ros was a pathbreaking feminist scholar whose activism and writing brought women into labor history and women’s work into focus for scholars across the disciplines. All of us who care about social history, labor, feminism and the role of struggle and movements in shaping the direction of our society and our studies are indebted to Ros, for her example as well as her contributions to our fields.

From the New York Times obituary, published today:

[Baxandall] helped create Liberation Nursery, the first feminist day care center in New York. As an early member of New York Radical Women and Redstockings, she picketed the 1968 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, one of the most visible of the feminist protests of the ’60s, forever associated with a symbolic burning of restrictive women’s clothes that mainstream publications referred to as a “bra burning.”

She played a prominent role in the abortion “speakout” in the West Village in 1969, a forum at which women described in public their experiences in obtaining illegal abortions.

Recalling those days in an interview with the feminist activist Jacqueline Ceballos in 1991, Ms. Baxandall said, “The one thing that I do have against the books that are written is they talk about all the politics and the splits, et cetera, but they don’t talk about the joy and fun we had.” She added, “We knew were changing history, and it was terrific.”


B&H: Labor Exploiter?

This past Sunday, dozens of B&H workers publicly aired their grievances against their employer, the largest non-chain photo retailer in the country. Employees marched into the NYC store to deliver a letter and launch a campaign calling for the business to “fix dangerous workplace conditions, end discrimination against Latino employees, and stop wage theft at their two Brooklyn warehouses.”

Laura Gottesdiener covered the action for Al Jazeera America (“Photo retailer B&H faces unwanted exposure over worker safety“), writing:

In the main B&H warehouse located in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, the walls and ceilings are insulated with fiberglass that fills the air and flecks off onto the worker’s skin, causing rashes, respiration problems and daily nosebleeds, employees say. Inside a second warehouse, on Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn, employees say they have worked amid asbestos-insulated tubing. “They would tell us to clean the tubes,” recalled maintenance worker Miguel Angel Muñoz Meneses, “but nobody wanted to touch them.” Continue reading B&H: Labor Exploiter?

From Sharing Economy to Shared Ownership

Want to go deeper on the world of sharing, cooperativism, and an internet economy that works for all of us? Head to the New School November 13-14th for Platform Cooperativism: a coming out party for the cooperative internet, co-sponsored by the Murphy Institute. Register here.

In a new article over at FastCoexist (“The People’s Uber: Why The Sharing Economy Must Share Ownership“), Nathan Schneider and Trebor Scholz lament the current state of the sharing economy:

For all the things that companies like Airbnb and TaskRabbit allow us to share with each other […] ownership and governance are not on offer. This is what the democratic promise of the Internet has come to: a democracy of access, of “collaborative consumption,” but not of control, real accountability, or ownership.

It’s a story that’s all too familiar for exploited workers subject to the micro-monitoring, low wages, and new forms of precarity that have opened up with the sharing economy. Yet, while Silicon Valley hails the new “freedoms” afforded by an internet that allows anyone to monetize any of their latent resources — time, bedrooms, cars and more — many workers are suffering from the gigification that has left them without benefits, stable wages, or any sort of certainty. From this, it’s easy for the future of work to look grim indeed.

Scholz and Schneider, however, take a bold step, opening up a new set of imaginative possibilities: What if, instead of being exploited by the “on-demand” economy, workers ran that economy themselves? Continue reading From Sharing Economy to Shared Ownership