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Spotlight on Staff: Congratulations to Isaac Rodriguez of LEAP to Teacher

By Becky Firesheets

Lehman College’s new LEAP to Teacher Coordinator Isaac Rodriguez is certainly not new to SLU. After two years as the Writing and Research Consultant for the Murphy Institute at Queens College, Isaac is thrilled for this opportunity to step up – and not just because his commute is shorter now.

“I love it so far,” he said of his new role. “It’s much easier to get to. But the advocacy part of the job is most alluring for me. We serve the adult learner; we serve the worker.”

For the uninitiated, LEAP to Teacher (LTT) is a specialized set of support services for UFT paraprofessionals pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in any field of study, offered at five CUNY campuses across all of New York City’s boroughs. Managed by Worker Education at SLU, this program serves nearly 600 students per year and is currently in the process of expanding to BMCC. Continue reading Spotlight on Staff: Congratulations to Isaac Rodriguez of LEAP to Teacher

New Labor Forum Highlights: October 7th, 2019

The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

Over a half-century ago, in a farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned citizens to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . by the military-industrial complex.” Eisenhower’s admonition of “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” implicit in the burgeoning Cold War arms build-up would soon come to seem radical. And for decades hence, the words “military-industrial complex,” were seldom uttered by office holders or candidates in either the Republican or Democratic Party. Continue reading New Labor Forum Highlights: October 7th, 2019

Advancing Workers’ Rights in the Workforce Development Community

By Becky Firesheets

Sara Esfarayeni, Joanne Mason, and Becky Firesheets recently represented SLU at “Designing a System for the Future of Workers,” the New York City Employment & Training Coalition’s workforce development conference held Monday, September 23rd at the CUNY Graduate Center. The sold-out event featured panels and presentations with various CBOs, educational institutions, and local and city government, focusing on topics such as the role of public policy, utilizing big data, building apprenticeship programs, and how to more effectively support immigrants, women, and people of color in entering and advancing through the workplace. Continue reading Advancing Workers’ Rights in the Workforce Development Community

Event: The Green New Deal, Net-Zero Carbon, & The Crucial Role of Public Ownership (9/28)

Date: Sat, September 28, 2019
Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EDT
Location: CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, 25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, NYC

REGISTER HERE

Description

This conference has two main goals. The first goal is to show how both public ownership and a public goods approach is critical to achieving “zero carbon” and the other core objectives of the Green New Deal. The second goal is to make visible key struggles around ownership and control—including anti-privatization fights—that are taking place around the world , and how these struggles are leading to a “new internationalism” that puts both class and climate at the center of progressive politics.

Context: Climate Policy Failures and the Need for Radical Alternatives

Calls for a Green New Deal in the US have resonated around the world. Driven by concerns about climate crisis, the GND has also become a rallying cry for those who seek radical and urgent action to combat rising levels of inequality, racial injustice, as well as the rise of corporate power.

The GND has also endorsed the “net-zero carbon” target articulated in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and governments at national, state and municipal levels (including New York State and New York City) have adopted similarly ambitious climate goals.

But according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), effective action on climate change “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” within a dozen years or less. Establishing targets, while important, are clearly not enough. Meanwhile, neoliberal policies aimed at “mobilizing private investment” in order to promote “green growth” have shown themselves to be completely incapable of even slowing the rise of emissions. These same policies have increased inequality, injustice, and precariousness all over the world.

The need for a radical change in policy is today indisputable. This realization has sparked a growing movement of unions and other allies that see the need to extend public ownership and democratic control over key economic sectors—such as energy, finance, and transportation—in order to ensure that the world has a fighting chance of addressing the climate emergency in ways that advance social and economic justice and equality.

Participants and Partners

We will be joined by unions and policy allies from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Uruguay, and the UK.

The meeting is being organized in partnership with: National Nurses United (NNU); New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA); United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE); Canadian Union of Public Employees; National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada);Transnational Institute; The Democracy Collaborative; Science for the People; DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group; #NationalizeGrid; Our Public Power (New York)New York Communities for Change.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. The program will start at 9:00 a.m. and end by 5:00 p.m. Full program and speakers to be announced.

SLU Professors Publish Annual State of the Unions Report

With the release of their annual report on the state of labor in the United States, SLU professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce have shown that organized labor remains far stronger in New York City and state than elsewhere in the nation — but that union erosion has also contributed disproportionately to low-wage job growth.

Ten-years after the Great Recession of 2008, employment has rebounded in New York City and in New York state, where the unemployment rate was 4.0% in July 2019. However, this job growth has been disproportionately concentrated in low-wage industries, especially in the private sector. This year’s report, State of the Unions 2019, A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, reveals that in recent decades, losses in union membership have been disproportionately concentrated in the private sector, a trend that accelerated after the Great Recession. By contrast, in the public sector, union density has been relatively stable in the City, while declining slightly over the past few years in the U.S. and New York State. Continue reading SLU Professors Publish Annual State of the Unions Report

Sofia Arana Shares Economic Democracy Lessons From Basque Country

By Rebecca Lurie

Last week, CWOP hosted a conversation with Sofia Arana from the Basque Country. She shared a qualitative comparison of US tax codes and those of the Basque region in Spain as ways and reasons we have such difficult uptake of just and equitable economic development in the US. Her chapter in the book The Basque Tax System, produced by The Center for Basque Studies and the University of Nevada, Reno, makes a point of thanking SLU as the host of her studies and research as she honors the ancient ways of the Basque Economic Agreement.  The information she shared offered a perspective we can use when trying to understand and advocate for policies and taxation that encourages stronger communities and better businesses. Her chapter offers insights gained living in her region of the world through  “The impact of the Basque Economic Agreement on Community Economic Development”.

Guests included scholars from Brooklyn College, the Graduate Center and Rutgers University, activists from the NYC cooperative community and representatives from the Deputy Mayor’s Office on Strategic Innovations.

Many thanks to Sofia for generating such a fruitful discussion and opportunity for a shared thinking. More to come!

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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