Tag Archives: Murphy News

Livestream: Unions, Workers, and the Democratic Party (9/18)

With: Randi Weingarten | Larry Cohen | Juan Gonzalez | Basil Smikle | Ed Ott

[A version of this post published on 9/11 has been edited to include the livestream window. – Ed.]

American Labor is facing the most exciting political contest since 2008’s rivalry between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both candidates have a long record support from unions.  During their overlapping time in the Senate they voted together 93% of the time.

While this (mostly behind the scenes) contest is going on, the official DNC debate schedule will only start in late October. Partisans for each candidate and observers interested in the process are eager to see the first debate of the season – even if the candidates aren’t present, and the debate format is a friendly roundtable. Please come back on Friday, 9/18, at 8.30 am for the livestream of Unions, Workers, and the Democratic Party.The video will appear below.


Regardless of who becomes the Democratic Party candidate for President in 2016, organized labor is poised once again to spend millions of dollars on the Democratic candidate. What is labor shopping for? What is it likely to get for its political money? How will it determine whether or not its resources were wisely spent? Will the larger, diverse working-class find a distinct voice in a political environment dominated by big money?


  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Larry Cohen, Making Progressive Politics Work; former President, Communications Workers of America
  • Juan Gonzalez, reporter for Daily News and co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Basil Smikle, Executive Director, New York State Democratic Party

Moderated by Ed Ott, Distinguished Lecturer, The Murphy Institute

Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination

The latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, continues to gain coverage, this time over at Al Jazeera. In an article by Murphy alum Ned Resnikoff (Unionization found to reduce pay discrimination, Al Jazeera, 9/7/15), the writer outlines some findings from the report:

The earnings gap between black and nonblack workers is smaller among union members than among members of the labor force as a whole, according to a report issued Friday from the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.

The report found that unionized black workers make a median $21.62 per hour, roughly 10 percent less than unionized nonblack workers’ $24.04 hourly wage. Nonunion black workers earned a median $13.65 per hour, compared with nonunion nonblack workers’ $17.00 — a nearly 20 percent pay disadvantage. Continue reading Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination

Report: State of the Unions 2015

What’s the relationship between unionization and the racial pay gap?

According to a new report by Murphy Institute Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, unions narrow the racial divide in wage levels. The report states:

Blacks have higher unionization rates than any other racial/ethnic group. Those who are union members reap substantial economic advantages, such as improved earnings, more job security, and greater access to employer-provided health insurance and pensions. 

An annual publication from the Murphy Institute, the report provides a wealth of information about unions in New York City, New York State and beyond, providing union density levels by geography, industry, race, gender, earnings, education, and other variables, and showing modest growth of unions at both the City and State level.

On Friday, the report was covered in a NY Times article called Unionization Important to Closing Racial Wage Gap, Study Says.

See the full report here.

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 Prof. Mimi Abramovitz Recognized by NASW

The NASW Foundation has selected Murphy Institute Professor Mimi Abramovitz to become a member of the NASW Social Work Pioneers. In addition to teaching at Murphy, Dr. Abramovitz is the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and a faculty member at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. Abramovitz is being honored for her “exceptional contribution to the social work profession and its ability to meet the needs of all people.”  NASW’s Newly elected Pioneers will be recognized during NASW’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening October 23, 2015 in Washington D.C.

Congratulations, Dr. Abramovitz!