All posts by Aaron Lenchner

2022 Commencement

VALEDICTORIAN
INDEEVARI KUMARASINGHE

Indeevari Kumarasinghe, B.A. Urban & Community Studies, is a Principal Administrative Associate II at New York City HRA, Office of Quality Assurance & Fiscal Integrity. During her 12 year career with the City of New York, she has also served as an Eligibility Specialist at Medical Insurance and Community Service Administration. She also worked as a Certified Application Counselor for the New York State of Health Market Place and as a Clerical Associates III at New York City HRA, SNAP Fair Hearing. Continue reading 2022 Commencement

Marlon Bailey Isn’t About to Slow Down

Marlon Bailey Isn’t About to Slow Down

Marlon Bailey doesn’t plan to retire. Ever.

“I’ve got too many things to do,” he said. “I just plan on evolving and seeing where the journey takes me.”

Marlon grew up in Jamaica and says he caught the political bug from his mom, Ruby. “She was what you call here a district leader, for the Jamaica Labor Party. She believed that the government must protect and make conditions better for its citizens, she was very outspoken about it. Our family was complicated, some supported the opposition People’s National Party, so there were some pretty lively conversations. But politics never interfered with our family relationships. Love and loyalty always came first.” Continue reading Marlon Bailey Isn’t About to Slow Down

How Unions and Cooperative Together Build Worker Power

How Unions and Cooperative Together Build Worker Power

By Brandi Alduk

On April 26th, the SLU Alumni Association invited us to have a conversation about our project at CWOP. We focused the discussion on unions and Co-ops together to help facilitate stronger connections between workers and control of their industries. We were joined by SLU Alumni, union organizers, and professors from the CUNY School of Labor Studies. Continue reading How Unions and Cooperative Together Build Worker Power

Marius Marinescu Finds a Vision—and His Voice—at SLU

Marius Marinescu Finds a Vision—and His Voice—at SLU

Marius Marinescu is living the American dream. “Whatever that is,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure it out.”

Marius was born in Brasov, Romania, in the historic region of Transylvania. There, he said, “I grew up in a totalitarian regime where I was inducted into the Youth Communist party at a young age, without my consent. The Communist party was trying to brainwash us, telling us we were living in a perfect society where everyone was equal. In actuality, we were powerless.”

He went on, “I grew up with minimal TV in Romania, and all it showed was Communist propaganda. So I became an avid reader. I liked history best, especially the fantastic books printed before the second World War. We had to hide them so the government wouldn’t confiscate them. They were beautiful, prized, secret cultural gems, the only way we could secure factual knowledge of the past.” Continue reading Marius Marinescu Finds a Vision—and His Voice—at SLU

Locke’d Out

Written by: Alvin Baugh

In my first semester at the School of Labor and Urban Studies I was asked to read some writings by John Locke, a philosopher whose ideas are fundamental to the founding of the United States. As I read Locke, I saw an intersection between his ideas and my own life. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, adherents to Locke’s 17th century theories have allowed many Black Americans, African Americans, and descendants of African slaves to have their possessions, homes, and land robbed from them by means of deception, thievery, even murder, resulting in no generational wealth, limiting a Black family’s ability to own a home even into this 21st century.

The application of Locke’s theory of possessions and property have had negative consequences, over and over throughout my life. My family is not an anomaly. Many Black American families have had similar experiences living in this country.

Continue reading Locke’d Out

Employees at REI Co-op move to unionize!

The Community and Worker Ownership Project stands with workers and their chosen representation to exercise their power at work. We need unions to help us be the best we can be as business pressures can otherwise push workers’ safety and dignity to the margins. Unions protect workers’ interests and raise the floor for workers and businesses in adjacent industries and geographies. 

The Union Co-op Council of the US Federation of Worker Coops has issued  this statement.

https://www.usworker.coop/blog/co-ops-and-labor-unions-work-hand-in-hand-usfwc-supports-rei-workers-right-to-unionize/

Co-Ops And Labor Unions Work Hand In Hand: USFWC Supports REI Workers’ Right To Unionize

Posted on January 25, 2022

The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives celebrates the workers at the REI co-op location in New York City who have announced their intention to form a union with the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). We strongly urge REI Co-op, and all other companies who are proudly part of the cooperative movement, to embrace their workers’ right to representation in a union, and recognize that unions play a key role in a strong cooperative ecosystem.

To that end, the USFWC has dedicated time and resources to building up this relationship for more than a decade through its Union Co-ops Council, a space focused on building worker power in coordination with organized labor. As the Council noted in their statement from 2021, the cooperative movement and the trade union movement both have deep roots in liberation struggles for economic independence. Labor unions and cooperatives are not an “either/or” option of organization but work together in solidarity to achieve similar goals. Worker power and self-determination, be it through worker co-ops, labor unions, or both together, are key to the better world we hope to build.

Rather than “getting between the co-op and the members,” unions can strengthen the relationship between workers and owners in a consumer co-op. Just as the consumer members join in collective action through a consumer cooperative to have a meaningful voice in the marketplace, workers join in collective action through a labor union to have a meaningful voice in the workplace. We encourage consumer members to engage the principle of solidarity with the workers who create the value of the cooperative.  

The Union Toolkit for Cooperative Solutions, developed by Union Co-ops Council member Rebecca Lurie and Bernadette King Fitzsimmons, delves into some of the incredible success stories of cooperatives and unions coming together to help workers and businesses flourish across the United States. 

Whether a consumer co-op like REI or a worker co-op in our membership, unions offer accountability and stability for workers in cooperatives, with representation and voice in the broader market of the industry. Workers know what they need to live well and do their jobs well.  From small shops to big name cooperatives to corporations, the USFWC proudly stands in solidarity and cooperation with workers organizing across the globe.