At this morning’s breakfast forum: “Is There a Future for Low-Income Housing in New York City?”, panelists and audience members had a wide-ranging and animated discussion about constraints and opportunities for achieving the goals of Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan. HPD’s Brent Meltzer, a housing preservation specialist and Assistant Commissioner for Community Partnerships, presented the Mayor’s Plan and fielded questions on density, preserving affordability, and the challenges of gentrification. Ismene Speliotis, Carlton Brown, and Lavon Chambers contributed perspectives from advocacy, affordable housing development, and labor. Some of the many take-aways:
- We need better, more aggressive ways to capture land value to increase rates of affordability.
- We need airtight ways to bind our housing goals and targets to our workforce development goals and sanction unscrupulous developers and contractors.
- Housing should not be built in isolation—community planning is needed to comprehensively address neighborhood needs—community organizing is the backbone of community planning.
- Change in urban areas is inevitable; the issue is how to manage change and eliminate displacement.
- The non-profit housing sector is underutilized and the city needs to stop over-relying on developer-contractors.
- Union pension funds should be freed up to invest in housing developments that their members can afford to live in.
- We need a mix of housing typologies not currently allowed by zoning—single-member households make up over a third of the city’s households but restrictions on density prevent construction of small units. The result: single-member households double, triple, and quadruple up—competing with families for multi-bedroom units.
See two of the presentations from the forum here:
Lavon Chambers, Laborers Union5
Ismene Speliotis, Mutual Housing Association
To the weekend! February’s slowing passing by and NYC’s sticking to record-breaking lows. Here’s some news from this past week:
- How can teachers unions expand their self-conception, looking at the interests of the whole working class? Bob Peterson offers some ideas via Portside. Want more on labor and education? Check out the latest issue of the New Labor Forum.
- How is the social-solidarity movement in Greece and the rise of Syriza manifesting a “shift in how we think in collective ways about meeting basic needs”? Read “How Greece Put an Anti-Austerity, Anti-Capitalist Party in Power” by Sarah Leonard via the Nation
- From earlier this month: From 1974-1979 a small town in Manitoba, Canada offered a basic income guarantee, shoring up incomes for its poorest residents. Whitney Mallet at Vice writes about the so-called “mincome”
- Speaking of guaranteed income, Alaska pays out dividends to all of its residents from revenues generated via its North Slope oil. On the Commons describes this unique system via Shareable
- Per Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, today’s the deadline for contract disputes between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union which have slowed West Coast ports to a grind
Photo by JLS Photography via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).
by Sean Sweeney
During its first days in office, Syriza has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the EU’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.
The Syriza government has said it will stop the proposed sell off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatization in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities,” he said.
Lafanzis also announced that that the mostly state-run gas company, DEPA, will also not be privatized. Both the PPC and DEPA were due to be privatized under the conditions imposed by the Troika. Continue reading Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’
The latest issue of New Labor Forum
is about to reach our print subscribers at home. But whether you subscribe or not, you can access our free articles right away on our new and improved website!
A number of articles in the January 2015 deal with political battles surrounding education:
The issue also provides:
From all of us at New Labor Forum – have a wonderful 2015!
Paula Finn & Steve Fraser
New Labor Forum
Photo: Professor Lu Zhang speaks about labor conditions inside Chinese auto factories.
By Stephanie Luce
I recently returned from two weeks in China, where I participated in a scholar exchange sponsored by the American Sociology Association, Labor and Labor Movements section. The exchange was the third piece of an ongoing effort to increase communication and collaboration between Chinese and US scholars. There were 8 sociologists in our delegation, along with Katie Quan, the coordinator of the program.
We spent time in Beijing at a conference on labor relations, then meeting with union officials and organizers from worker centers. I then spent a week in Hong Kong meeting with more labor activists, as well as people involved in the Umbrella movement. I’ll report on what I learned about the labor movement here, and in a second post I will write about the Umbrella movement. Continue reading Observations From a Trip to China: Part I
By Donald LaHuffman
Produced for “Labor and Media Studies” with Prof. Ari Paul, Fall 2014
The United States recently exploded in protest around the country as citizens mobilized to show displeasure at the Staten Island Jury findings. The jurors decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Pantaleo had allegedly held Garner in an illegal choke hold until his death, despite Garner’s pleas of not being able to breathe during the encounter. Ensuing local and national demonstrations connected Garner’s death to the earlier police shooting of Michael Brown who was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Community organizers have included mothers in New York City who have lost their sons to alleged police brutality in previous years in these actions. In my graduate Labor Studies class “Labor and Media” taught by Ari Paul during the fall 2014 semester, my classmates and I met five mothers who told their stories. These mothers told the stories to make sure that they were not forgotten. Continue reading A Survey of Community and Labor Perspectives in the Wake of the Eric Garner Case