Category Archives: Labor Studies

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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)

Andres Puerta Talks Organizing on Museum Confidential

In New York and California, museums are getting unionized. And if organizers have anything to say about it, this is a trend that’s going to spread. Last month, SLU alum and IUOE Local 30 Director of Special Projects Andres Puerta went on Museum Confidential to discuss the recent wave — and where we might go from here. Check it out.

Photo by Dave Nakayama via flickr (cc-by)

Master of Arts in Labor Studies Capstone Presentations

On Monday, MA students in Labor Studies presented their capstone projects on a wide array of subjects. Pictured above are, from left to right, Prof. Maria Figueroa, Rachel Feldman, Crystal Garcia, Mark Thornton, Natasha Yee, Robert Master, Norma Heyward & Mark Casner. Congratulations, students!

PROJECTS

Mark Casner: Ageism in New York? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Anti-Discrimination Employment Policy

Rachel Feldman: Impact of Hospital Profits on Direct Care Workers: How Does Working for a Profitable, Private Hospital Impact Direct Care Workers in New York City?

Crystal Garcia: Sisters in the Trades: How Effective Are Current Diversity Policies to Increase Employment and Retention of Women in the NYC Construction Industry?

Norma Heyward: Homelessness in New York City: Assessing the Challenges and Solutions

Robert Master: Militancy and Memory:  The 1971 New York Telephone Strike and its Legacy

Mark Thornton: What Happened in Wisconsin? Union Members and Political Choices in the 2016 Election Cycle 

Natasha Yee: What can Diversity and Inclusion do for Unions?: A Look at the IBEW and EWMC 

SLU Students In Action: Brian’s Story

By Brian Fleurantin, M.A. in Urban Studies Program

For the past year, I’ve been working as a Care Manager at Housing Works. In that time, I’ve worked with various clients across New York City assisting them with finding housing, access benefits, etc. It’s rewarding, yet challenging work. Beyond the daily challenges of work, various conditions I and my coworkers have experienced led to us working with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to form a union and walking off our jobs on October 29th.

Being there in that moment, speaking at the rally, and discussing work-related issues with my co-workers has been an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve gotten to see firsthand what my fellow coworkers have gone through and have used the things I’ve learned at SLU to work in solidarity with my colleagues to fix our work environments. It’s been difficult, especially with management reverting to classic union-busting tactics, but we as workers have been able to counteract their tactics and show the truth of what’s going on. It’s also been amazing to see the support we’ve gotten outside of the company, from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams all the way up to U.S. Senator and recent presidential candidate Kamala Harris. I feel very proud to be standing in solidarity with my co-workers and union workers across the country and around the world.

Click on these links to learn more about our walk-out:

Union Semester Success Story: Brittany Anderson

How do you create a labor organizer? SLU’s Union Semester program is a good place to start. Just ask Brittany Anderson.

Brittany suspected early on that the American Dream wasn’t real for most working people. Raised in rural Minnesota by a single mom who worked multiple jobs, income inequality wasn’t a theoretical concept, it was a daily reality. So she decided to do something about it.

Brittany moved to New York City for college in 2008 and got involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. “I had no idea how huge the labor movement was, how powerful. It really opened my eyes,” she said. The young protester from the Midwest quickly found herself under the wing of seasoned union organizers, who recognized her passion and potential. They told her about the Union Semester program at CUNY’s Murphy Institute and in Spring 2014 she enrolled.

“The program really helped prepare me for a career in the labor movement,” Brittany said. Continue reading Union Semester Success Story: Brittany Anderson

Video: Going Big: Reversing Trump’s Agenda & Modernizing Labor Rights

On Friday, November 15th, SLU hosted a Labor Forum on the future of labor rights. 135 people attended to hear how the labor movement can fight for workers’ rights and protections while the Trump administration continues to attempt to roll them back.

Featured speakers included:

  • Randi Weingarten — President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
  • Steven Greenhouse — Veteran New York Times labor journalist and author of the new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.
  • Vincent Alvarez – President of NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Although union density is near an all-time low, labor activism has surged in many sectors. From adjunct faculty to video game developers, digital media workers, platform app drivers, and public school teachers, labor movement activism is growing in a number of key sectors. This is happening as many full-time jobs with benefits are disappearing, consumer/student debt is skyrocketing, the “gig economy” is expanding, and economic insecurity is increasing for American workers and families. Housing and child care costs – which heavily impact workers’ income, wealth, and health – have also become more burdensome for many families. Under President Trump, a number of worker rights and protections have been weakened or denied, including:

• No movement toward federal minimum wage increase

• Weak overtime protections for salaried workers

• Allowing employers to self-report wage violations and escape penalties • Siding with employers against rights of gay and transgender workers

• (Mis)classifying Uber drivers and others as independent contractors, denying them basic rights

• Continuing ‘Right-to-Work’ efforts kickstarted by Supreme Court’s Janus decision

• Restricting workers’ right to organize at franchised businesses like McDonald’s

• De-funding and weakening OSHA

What should be Democrats’ top policy priorities to strengthen all workers’ rights? What are the most significant gaps and weaknesses in protections for worker organizing and economic rights today? ‘Right-to-work’ laws? Legal constraints against strikes and other worker actions? Minimum wage? The growing numbers of workers who fall outside the protections of the NLRA? Lack of livable safety net benefits for displaced and underemployed workers? Lack of protections for flex/gig workers? What new policies would best promote stronger worker protections and greater economic justice?