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Video: The Fight for Fair Elections: Expanding the Vote in 2020

Last Friday, members of the broader SLU community gathered for a discussion about voter suppression and the pathway to expanding the vote:

Given the especially high stakes of the 2020 election, the need for broad and unobstructed voter participation could not be greater. Yet the past decade has seen a plethora of legal curtailments on voting rights. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted strict photo ID requirements, curbs on early voting, and voter registration restrictions that have all served to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a major win of the Civil Rights movement. Finally, the perennial challenge of voter turnout still exists – over 25% of eligible voters are unregistered, and only 50% of registered voters are expected to vote, making the prospects for a truly democratic election in 2020 very concerning.

What lessons can be gleaned from a long history of heroic efforts to ensure equal voting opportunities and rights for all? What are advocates, unions, and other activists doing to combat voter suppression and promote voter registration and turnout in the upcoming election? What should be the top legislative priorities of a more progressive, post-2020 federal government to strengthen our democracy by expanding the vote?

Featuring:

  • Gloria Browne-Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Gerry Hudson Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Moderator:

  • Deepak Bhargava Distinguished Lecturer, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies Former Executive Director, Center for Community Change

Alumni Achievement: Mia Ragozino, Union Organizer

On January 28th, following 10 months of failed negotiations, nearly 8,000 employees of Swedish Health Services, all members of SEIU 1199 Northwest—a union representing more than 30,000 nurses and healthcare workers throughout Washington State and Montana—walked out on a three-day strike. Right there on the picket lines with them was SLU alumna Mia Ragozino.

Ragozino, who earned her Masters in Labor Studies in 2019, recently joined SEIU 1199NW as an organizer. “SEIU 1199 was a good fit for me,” said Mia. “It’s an organizing union with a racial justice lens and a concernfor workers’ safety.” She said the strike was a last resort in the union’s fight for not just fair compensation, but for adequate staffing and patient safety. “Since corporate giant Providence took over the Swedish healthcare system, management has prioritized profits and executive pay over patients’ needs and workers’ rights.” She noted that three presidential candidates had tweeted in support of the walk-out, including Senators Sanders, Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.
Mia says her learning experiences at SLU prepared her well for her current role. “SLU prioritizes the education of people and workers of color. And learning about the history of the labor movement was a huge eye-opener for me.” After SLU, Mia attended Cornell ILR’s summer institute for strategic corporate research. While there, she learned about the job with SEIU 1199NW.
Mia credits Professor Stephanie Luce with not only inspiring her, but for recommending her for the position in Seattle. “She was a role model for me,” said Mia, “and she helped me get started in the career I always wanted to pursue. It all came together at SLU.”
Professor Luce returned the compliment: “It was a joy to have Mia as a student,” she said. “Her energy and passion for social justice inspired other students as well as me. Given her sharp mind and research skills, SEIU 1199NW is lucky to have her!”
Read more about the SEIU 1199 healthcare workers’ strike here.

2020 Student Labor Journalism Award

The New York Metro labor Communications Council is offering a
$500 prize for work by undergraduate and graduate students on the theme:

“The 2020 Elections and My Life/My Community”

The country is about to elect a president in November; additional state and local elections will take place. How will this impact your life and/or the life of your community/communities. What issues are most important to you and are candidates talking about them? You are encouraged to write or make a short video or audio recording about the impact of these elections on you—as a student, a worker, and that of your family or community.

The prize is given to the student whose work touches our emotions and/or brings insight to this issue. The prize will be awarded for a written article of approximately 1200 words, or for a video or audio report of two to six minutes. The topic is wide open for you to explore.

Application Deadline: May 4, 2020

Established in 1974, the Metro New York Labor Communications Council (Metro) includes union communications professionals, who work for the city’s public and private-sector unions and other organizations representing working people. They are editors and reporters, photographers and graphic designers, broadcast producers and public relations specialists. Metro provides a forum to discuss pressing issues in the labor movement, and shares ideas on how labor communicators can tell the story of working people.

Please include your name and the school you are attending.
Students do not need to be journalism majors.
Send entries to:
Margarita Aguilar
341 West 24 Street, #5D, New York, NY 10011

or email it to: metrolabornyc@gmail.org

For more information and to apply, please contact:Margarita Aguilar: 212-982-0574 or metrolabornyc@gmail.org

Photo by Marcie Casas via flickr (cc-by)

Event: The Fight for Fair Elections: Expanding the Vote in 2020 (2/21)

Date: Fri, February 21, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM EST
Location: CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, 25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036

RSVP HERE

Featuring:

  • Gloria Browne-Marshall
    Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Gerry Hudson
    Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Moderator:

  • Deepak Bhargava
    Distinguished Lecturer, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
    Former Executive Director, Center for Community Change

Doors open at 8:30am. A light breakfast will be served.

Given the especially high stakes of the 2020 election, the need for broad and unobstructed voter participation could not be greater. Yet the past decade has seen a plethora of legal curtailments on voting rights. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted strict photo ID requirements, curbs on early voting, and voter registration restrictions that have all served to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a major win of the Civil Rights movement. Finally, the perennial challenge of voter turnout still exists – over 25% of eligible voters are unregistered, and only 50% of registered voters are expected to vote, making the prospects for a truly democratic election in 2020 very concerning.

What lessons can be gleaned from a long history of heroic efforts to ensure equal voting opportunities and rights for all? What are advocates, unions, and other activists doing to combat voter suppression and promote voter registration and turnout in the upcoming election? What should be the top legislative priorities of a more progressive, post-2020 federal government to strengthen our democracy by expanding the vote?

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

We are currently recruiting applicants for the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor , designed to bring woman and people of color to leadership roles in the labor movement and in the filed of Labor Studies. Scholarship recipients will receive full tuition for the M.A. in Labor Studies or B.A. in Urban and Community Studies (Labor concentration) programs.

Strong candidates:
  • Are passionate about labor rights and social change
  • Have a strong academic background
  • Possess leadership skills or leadership potential
  • Will complete Part I of the application by March 3, 2020

What Students Learn

Students in the M.A. in Labor Studies program develop critical thinking, analytical, and leadership skills, while learning: labor law, history, practical skills, and contemporary challenges facing labor. The program is designed to support working adults or full-time students. The B.A. in Urban and Community Studies (labor concentration) curriculum examines policies and governance processes that affect diverse urban working-class communities. B.A. applicants must have completed 60 college credits.

Please share this flyer with your networks.

Deadlines:

Applicants must first apply to the M.A. in Labor Studies or the B.A. in Urban and Community Studies program by March 3, 2020. Contact Laurie.Kellogg@slu.cuny.edu or 718-440-1550 (day, evening or weekend) for information and tips on writing a successful application.
Diversity Scholarship applications must be received by March 24, 2020.

For more information:

Call us at (646) 313-8514
Visit us at slu.cuny.edu