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Introducing Fall 2015 NY Union Semester Students

The Fall semester is upon us, and we’re gearing up to welcome yet another Union Semester cohort! Introducing the Fall 2015 class….

For information on joining the class of Spring 2016, find us at www.unionsemester.org.


Siddika Degia
Originally from India, Siddika has lived in New York City since the age of seven. She is a junior at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. She is studying politics, labor studies, and social justice issues. She is attending the NY Union Semester to gain experience and a better understanding about the labor movement.

Siddika is interning at the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in the Education department.


Erica Dodt
Erica Dodt was born and raised in the Midwest. She created her own undergraduate major in social justice, focusing on pedagogy, law, and gender at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She is a movement educator and organizer who is interested in the Union Semester to hone her skills at synthesizing research, analysis, reflection, and community self-determination.

Erica is interning at the Writers Guild of America East, in the organizing department.


Casey Garrison
My name is Casey Garrison and I am a junior anthropology major at Hendrix College. I was born in Southern California and grew up in a small town just south of Little Rock, Arkansas. My interests include educational anthropology, issues in urban poverty, and social justice. I am attending Union Semester in order to broaden my experiences with applied anthropology and further my understanding of labor unions and the fight for social justice in New York.

Casey is interning at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3.


Robin Beck
After growing up in Syracuse and Rochester, Robin Beck has lived in Ohio, Newark, and NYC. He has years of experience working in food service and retail, and has been active in the labor and Palestine solidarity movements.

Robin in interning with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in the Political Action department.


Marisa Budlong
Marisa is from the East Bay Area, but spent the last four years in the Greater Boston studying Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, she restarted the Brandeis Labor Coalition and was part of a group of feminist activists who created Brandeis Students Against Sexual Violence. Marisa wants to engage in carving out spaces for growth and empowerment within hierarchical systems, especially concerning the livelihood and agency of womyn. She is hopeful that Union Semester will allow her to continue this work and nuance her understanding of how the labor movement intersects in people’s lives.

Marisa is interning with the United Federation of Teachers in the Political Action department.

emilyallenEmily Allen
I was born and raised in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. I moved to New York City when I was 17 and have lived and worked in the city for the past 8 years. I have a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy and Political Science and plan to attend law school next year.

Emily in interning at the Laborer’s International Union of North America, Local 79 in the Research department.

pranavPranav Pendurthi
Pranav graduated from NYU in 2014 with a major in Philosophy.  He is interested in the history of the labor movement, and exploring how it can be used as a structural means by which to counteract inequity.

Pranav is interning at the New York State Nurses Association with the Community Affairs department.


Alexandra Antioco
Alexandra is a Brooklyn Native, with a B.A in Political Science. She has a passion for social justice and joined Union Semester to get a better understanding of Labor Unions and workers rights as well as to become a better organizer.
Alexandra is interning at the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund.
Mohammad Amin
Mohammad is an immigrant from Bangladesh. He graduated from UCLA with a B.Sc in Math/Econ in 2015. He wants to become a union researcher. He also has deep passion for worker rights in third world countries.


Mohammad is interning with 32BJ, Service Employees International Union in the Contracts and Grievances Center.

Murphy Scholarship Event: Diversity and Labor

On Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015, the Murphy Institute hosted the third annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor reception and awards ceremony. The reception, which began with remarks from CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken and Murphy Director Greg Mantsios, was followed by a formal program featuring three rising leaders in the labor movement: Shaun Francois, President, Local 372, DC 37 AFSCME, Dolly Martinez of the Retail Action Project, and Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for change.

Six students were then awarded full scholarships to attend Murphy programs: Adriane Hudson, Jack Suria Linares, Onieka O’Kieffe, Stacey Payton, Andrea Pluas and Nadya Stevens.

The program ended with a tribute to Arthur Cheliotes, the President of Local 1180, Communication Workers of America, who was presented with the Joseph S. Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contributions to the Murphy Institute and to the workers of New York.

Congratulations to all the award recipients and to the growing Murphy community!

2015 Urban Studies Capstone Presentations

Congratulations to our spring 2015 Capstone students in our Master of Arts degree in Urban Studies! With the guidance of Dr. Michael Fortner, these graduate candidates presented the following research papers on Tuesday, May 12, 2015:

The effects on the Poverty Rate in New York’s Congressional District 15 since the War on Poverty
Leonel Baez

Service Needs of the Chronically Homeless in New York City
Marisa Butler

Renee Charles

What Impacts the Success of a Small Business?
Triscia Gill

Are We Making a Difference? Determining the Relationship between Employee Service Quality and Client Satisfaction
Nicholas Gurico

Moving Bogotá: Passengers’ Perception of El Sistema TransMilenio
Alix Hoechster

“Raising Consciousness”: How the CUNY Community Supports 21st Century Learners Find Agency in NYC
Crystal Joseph

African-American Men and HIV CARE in Urban Settings: Myths or Facts
Donald La Huffman

Home Schooling and Socialization: Problem Solved?
Keith March

How Can Faith-Based Mentoring Programs and Services Impact Youths’ Lives?
Ruth S. McFarlan-Felder

Workforce Development Programs and Socioeconomic Outcomes
Luz Mino

Building Tomorrow’s Leaders: Educating African American Men
Carlos Rivera

New York City: Pushing People Out?
Brittney-Rae Ramsay

The Effect of the Managed Care Transition on Homecare Organizations
Eric Tew

Parent and Child Language Differences and Child Delinquency in NYC’s Haitian Immigrant Community
Joseph Tulce

What You Earn and Who You Are Impacts the Healthcare You Receive: The Relationship between Income Inequality, Race and Health Outcomes in the United States
Suzana Vale

Happy May Day — and Happy Birthday!

It’s May Day again — that’s International Workers’ Day, for those not in the know. Here in NYC, the Guggenheim’s been occupied, Free University’s been liberating education from the university-industrial complex,  the Immigrant Workers Justice Tour has marched through Manhattan and at 5pm, we’ll be Shutting It Down for Freddie Gray, starting at Union Square. (For more on today’s events — of which there are many — check out the calendar at 99pickets.org.)

Here at Murphy, we celebrate May Day as the yearly commemoration of those who have fought for a better life for the working class — while continuing to wage our struggle.

This year’s May Day marks yet another milestone: the one-year anniversary of this blog.  Continue reading Happy May Day — and Happy Birthday!