By Michael Murphy
On April 15, protesters in New York City and across the United States engaged in a coordinated demonstration to highlight the problem of low wages for workers in the fast-food industry. This issue has resonated with workers who have seen their pay diverge in real terms from the cost of living. The “Fight for $15 on 4/15” protests brought workers together with allies in the community and organized labor in what has become a dynamic social movement. Yet the origins of this stark decline in purchasing power for workers can be found several decades ago. Why has this social movement for change emerged in recent years to place higher wages on the local and national political agenda?
In the forthcoming Spring 2015 issue of New Labor Forum, Murphy Institute Professor of Labor Studies Stephanie Luce explores the origins and influence of this movement. Continue reading Prof. Stephanie Luce Explores the Higher Wages Movement
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
Last Friday, Sarah Jaffe, Juan Gonzalez, Errol Louis, Michael Hirsch and Ed Ott participated in a panel discussion in front of a packed house here at Murphy. The panelists analyzed the 2014 midterm elections, looking at what happened this time around and discussing the implications for the future.
Miss the Forum? Check out the livestream, embedded below and archived on our new YouTube channel.
Whose Side Are You On?
By Andrew Ross
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaign is shaping up as one of these historical moments when everyone has to choose which side they are on. Trade unionists have good reason to know what this feels like. Labor history is punctuated with similar contests, when nuanced views on strategy have run their course and we are left with a stark moral choice. For too long, the debate about how best to oppose the occupation of Palestine has been clouded, often intentionally, by strenuous deliberations over tactics. As for those in official positions, the formidable sway of pro-Zionist lobbying has been disturbingly effective. Elected politicians have AIPAC watching their every move, and high officialdom within the AFL-CIO has the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) to placate. As Richard Trumka put it plainly at a JLC dinner gathering in 2009: “Tonight, let me tell you that, so long as I’m president, you will never have a stronger ally than the AFL-CIO. That’s why we’re proud to stand with the JLC to oppose boycotting Israel.”
Read The Full Debate Here
Engage, Don’t Divest from Israel
By Jo-Ann Mort
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its continued control of movement in Gaza is unjust and inhumane. It must be ended as quickly as possible. Israel and Palestine must exist as two states side by side. How can this be achieved? I don’t believe that boycotting
Israel, or the overall BDS prescription for change, is the correct response—not for the labor movement, nor for other movements or individuals.
The current Israeli government is a right-wing government with a smattering of centrist parties devolved from a very complex—and partly dysfunctional—parliamentary system. I don’t support it. But boycotting this government will only make it stronger. That’s because the tendency inside Israel—and especially on the right—is to hunker down in response to boycotts. Poll numbers rise for the right when there are visible attacks on Israel, and savvy politicians—especially Israel’s Prime Minister—make ample use of these opportunities to strengthen their own base at the expense of the left.
Read The Full Debate Here
Photo by ☪yrl via flickr (CC-BY-NC).