Labor Rights and College Education

This post was originally published at The Diamondback. Reposted with permission.

By Olivia Delaplaine

Top on the long list of worries for most graduating students is the prospect of finding a job. Each day a hiring manager doesn’t email us back or a website removes a job listing — and the looming anxiety of paying back exorbitant student loans draws closer — our desperation grows. Soon, we abandon pipe dreams of a livable salary with health insurance and paid leave, and begin to search for any work we can find.

We enter interviews insecure, self-conscious and vulnerable. We might take the first offer that comes our way, because we don’t know any better. We feel like it’s a privilege to even be offered a job; so who are we to ask for a higher salary, fixed hours or better health insurance? It’s not like we had the chance to negotiate as a part-time student employee, teaching assistant or intern. We may have even tolerated daily harassment or intimidation while doing our jobs, unable to do anything about it. Why should we expect that to change?

So instead of convincing us that we should dress up and put on a show for companies and organizations that won’t even pay us a living wage, our institutions of higher education should have a central role in preparing students for the workplace. Just as they’re active in teaching us marketable skills, they should be teaching us about how to negotiate fair pay and benefits.

Continue reading Labor Rights and College Education

SLU’s Stephanie Luce Weighs in on Amazon in WSJ

A recent Wall Street Journal article laid out NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio’s vision for an Amazon-ed Big Apple: a unionized labor force. Katie Honan writes:

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that New York City employees of Amazon.com Inc. should unionize and that their organizing wouldn’t prompt the company to pull out of a deal to build a new campus in Queens and bring 25,000 high-paying jobs to the location.

“I think their stance on unionization reflects a different time,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said of Amazon at an unrelated press conference. “Now that people are more and more concerned about decent wages and benefits, I think Amazon’s gonna have to reconsider that.”

They mayor set forth a vision of Amazon as a company that will be responsive to labor organizing and pressures for livable wages and decent working conditions. Keen observers of Amazon’s track record, however, might not be quite so optimistic. Honan goes on to quote SLU’s Stephanie Luce:

Stephanie Luce, a professor of labor studies at the City University of New York, said the company’s union battles around the world are well-documented, even in cities and countries with stronger union ties than New York City.

“It’s a real stretch to think that they can have enough leverage to make them fold,” she said. “It would be naive to believe that any city really has enough clout to make Amazon cave to demands, especially after they’re here.”

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feburary 4th, 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.

American dominion over most of the globe has been a fact of life for many decades. The price in blood and treasure, both abroad and at home, has been ghastly. Yet for some time now, even as the forces of progressive reform have grown at an astonishing rate, the new left as a whole, pre-occupied with domestic political issues, has failed to offer an alternative vision of a left foreign policy. Aziz Rana does that in the winter 2019 issue of New Labor Forum. Along the way, he urges the left to break through the artificial division between domestic and foreign affairs, arguing, as did social democrats of yesteryear, that the dominion of capital at home depends on its political and economic over-lordship throughout the rest of the world. The material well-being and freedom of working people everywhere are organically linked, and that must inform the way a progressive America behaves abroad. Aziz Rana will be speaking at a forum organized by the journal at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies on March 1st. Please join us for this important discussion. Included here, you will also find a thoughtful article titled “America Needs an Entirely New Foreign Policy for the Trump Age” by Peter Beinart, who argues that, since the end of the Cold War, U.S. presidents of both parties have upheld a commitment U.S. global domination, which is both immoral and increasingly unsustainable.

Table of Contents
  1. Renewing working-class internationalism/ Aziz Rana, New Labor Forum
  2. America Needs an Entirely New Foreign Policy for the Trump Age/ Peter Beinart, The Atlantic
  3. The Making of a Progressive Foreign Policy/ The Murphy Institute, CUNY SLU

Renewing working-class internationalism

By Aziz Rana/ New Labor Forum
Trump’s 2016 victory has generated a growing internal debate within left-leaning circles about the future direction of the Democratic Party. To date, this debate has overwhelmingly focused on domestic questions of the economy, with the Sanders’ wing transforming policies like “Medicare for All” into a basic litmus test for party politicians with national ambitions. But it has not left foreign policy totally unscathed….

America Needs an Entirely New Foreign Policy for the Trump Age

By Peter Beinart/ The Atlantic
Amid all the talk about the Democratic Party’s move to the left, a contrary phenomenon has gone comparatively unnoticed: On foreign policy, Washington Democrats keep attacking Donald Trump from the right. They’re not criticizing him merely for his lackluster response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. They’re criticizing him for..

The Makings of a Progressive Foreign Policy

Friday, March 1, 2019–9:00AM-10:30AM
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
Featuring: Aziz Rana, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; and Steve Fraser, Editor-at-Large, New Labor Forum
What are the challenges in developing and implementing a progressive foreign policy alternative?  What can we expect from the emerging progressive wing of Congressional Democrats?…

Subscribe to New Labor Forum

Do you subscribe to New Labor Forum, our publication for labor and its allies to test and debate new ideas?  In this new year, consider giving your favorite friends and colleagues a subscription too. Three times a year scholars, journalists, labor leaders and activists explore topics like the global economy’s impact on work and labor; new union organizing and political strategies; labor’s new constituencies and their relationship to organized labor’s traditional institutions; internal union reform and new structural models for the labor movement; alternative economic and social policies; and the role of culture in a new, revitalized labor movement. It is required reading for anyone who is concerned with issues of work, workers, and social change.Subscribe now to get each issue of New Labor Forum.

 

Event: Change In Mexico (2/8)

Date: February 8th, 2019
Time: 1:30-3:30pm
Location: CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, 25 West 43rd Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10036

REGISTER HERE

CHANGE IN MEXICO: Migration Policy, Economic Renewal, and the New Government

A discussion with TATIANA CLOUTHIER (Congresswoman from Mexico; former campaign director for current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) and ROBERTO VALDOVINOS (Director, Institute of Mexicans Abroad)

Join us for the exclusive opportunity to learn from and speak with two high-ranking officials from the new Mexican government led by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The speakers will address a wide range of topics relating to U.S.-Mexico relations, migration, economic renewal, and MORENA coalition’s approach to leading the new government.

A light lunch and refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by:

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY

The Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University

Photo by MollySVH via flickr (cc-by)

Welcome to CUNY SLU’s Spring 2019 Students!

On Thursday, January 24th, 63 new CUNY School of Labor and Urban studies students from all programs gathered for a New Student Orientation.  Students were joined by faculty, student peers, and SLU advising and support staff to prepare for the spring 2019 semester.  Thanks to all the staff and students who participated, and here’s to success for all our students in the semester ahead!

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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