Category Archives: Labor Studies

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Union Semester Student Bailey Miller Wins Labor Journalism Contest

Each year, the Metro New York Labor Journalism Council gives out awards for student labor journalism. And this year, the winner for written article was SLU student Bailey Miller, who wrote about “body shops,” labor-leasing companies that exploit formerly incarcerated workers, and which are proliferating on construction sites throughout New York City. Her article is reproduced below. Congratulations, Bailey!

The Rise of Labor-Leasing Companies and the Exploitation of Formerly Incarcerated Workers in New York City

By Bailey Miller

Construction in New York City is booming, but beneath the glitter and shine of new buildings, a troubling trend has emerged. An expanding class of labor-leasing companies, known as “body shops”, is providing general contractors with workforces of formerly incarcerated people for exploitive construction sites across the five boroughs. Body shops pay barely minimum wage, offer no benefits like medical coverage, and provide minimal safety training for workers to erect scaffolds, clear debris, and perform other types of work on the cheap. The rise of body shops means that formerly incarcerated workers, who are disproportionately Black, are increasingly exploited to perform the dangerous work of erecting New York City’s luxury towers and shopping complexes.   Continue reading Union Semester Student Bailey Miller Wins Labor Journalism Contest

New Labor Forum: April 1st, 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.

The early successes of the #MeToo movement caught many commentators by surprise. However, despite its notable achievements – including dramatic increases in awareness regarding sexual harassment, as well as the conviction of a long list of high profile offenders – the institutional changes required to prevent sexual harassment and assault are still a long way off. A recent national online survey highlights this fact, finding that 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. This figure is higher than previously cited data because it includes the plethora of verbal forms of sexual harassment, as well as physical harassment, cyber harassment and sexual assault. The survey also indicates that girls and young women experience alarmingly high rates of harassment, with the highest incidence occurring between the ages of 14 and 17.
Establishing and enshrining changes in the workplace, where sexual harassment so often occurs, should be a first order priority for organized labor. Yet, as Ana Avendaño writes in her article for New labor Forum , “with some notable exceptions, the labor movement has been a bystander, or even complicit, especially in male-dominated industries where harassment is most pervasive.” Avendaño examines labor’s troubled legacy, including some unions’ efforts to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and steer claims of racial and gender discrimination away from the courts. She also describes the effective work by a handful of unions to make their industries more equitable and safe for women workers, and suggests how this work provides a model for organized labor to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and in its own union halls.
The #MeToo movement has also forced unions and other social justice organizations to reckon with their own internal cultures that enable, and sometimes breed, racial and gender discrimination. A recent case in point is the Southern Poverty Law Center, long admired by progressives for its work in tracking and prosecuting hate groups. We include here a New York Times article that discusses the accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in that organization that have now forced the departure of its top leadership. What next? Reversing decades of weakening labor law and shoring up the fragile prosecutorial footing provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act seem like two necessary, albeit uphill, battles that must be waged to stop ubiquitous workplace sexual harassment.
Table of Contents
  1. #MeToo Inside the Labor Movement/Ana Avendaño, New Labor Forum
  2. A New Survey Finds 81 Percent of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment/ Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR
  3. Roiled by Staff Uproar, Civil Rights Group Looks at Intolerance Within/ Audra D.S. Burch, Alan Blinder and John Eligon, New York Times
  4. The Rape of Recy Taylor Film Screening/ Co-sponsored by the Women’s Organizing Network

Photo by GGAADD via flickr (cc-by-sa)

CUNY Days at DC37: Worker Education at the Murphy Institute’s New College Access Initiative

By Becky Firesheets

When adults are interested in returning to school, they’re often faced with multiple challenges — jobs, children, bills, aging parents — yet are expected to navigate this process alone. In contrast, high school students, who typically experience fewer barriers than adult learners, receive built-in guidance from trained counselors present in their schools. Worker Education at the Murphy Institute strives to change this reality by bringing college access services directly to adults within their communities.

Recently launched with DC37, Worker Education’s new initiative “CUNY Days” offers free, thirty-minute, one-on-one sessions with experienced pre-admission advisors held at the union’s headquarters. Our advisors begin each session by discussing participants’ career goals and recommending various academic pathways at the School of Labor and Urban Studies and/or greater CUNY that could lead toward achieving this goal. Depending on the individual’s needs, sessions might also include application assistance, exploration of various industries and local labor market data, guidance on accessing union tuition benefits and financial aid, and more. Continue reading CUNY Days at DC37: Worker Education at the Murphy Institute’s New College Access Initiative

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

Calling All Applicants: 2019 Diversity Scholarship

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

Apply Today!

Application Deadline is: March 19th, 2019.

If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for equity within the community, workplace, or the world, then the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor will help you achieve those goals.

Awardees will receive:
• Up to $30,000 awarded over two years for graduate study
• Up to $20,000 awarded over two years for undergraduate study

Eligibility Requirements

  • For graduate scholarship: First-time entering students in the MA in Labor Studies degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • For undergraduate scholarship: First-time entering students or continuing students in the BA in Urban and Community Studies degree program, with a concentration in Labor Studies and a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Scholarship awards will be based on a national competition and are designed to create pipelines that will bring women and people of color to the forefront of the labor movement. Specifically, the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor is dedicated to the purpose of fostering new, diverse, and representative leadership in the labor movement and in the academic discipline of Labor Studies. To that end, applicants must be part of an underrepresented minority in the field of labor who have demonstrated a commitment to increase the participation of women and people of color in the field of labor.

Deadline Date for submitting the MA in Labor Studies or the BA in Urban and Community Studies
Admissions Application
In order to be eligible for a 2019 Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor, new applicants for admission to either the MA in Labor Studies or the BA in Urban and Community Studies must have their complete admissions application submitted no later than February 19, 2019. In order to be considered for admissions, accompanying required letters of recommendation must be received no later than February 19, 2019 at 11:59 pm.

Scholarships and College Financial Aid
If awarded a scholarship, applicants must complete a 2019-2020 FAFSA form to determine the impact this scholarship opportunity may have on any other financial aid they may be applying for or receiving. Additional guidance for completing the FAFSA form will be provided to awardees by the CUNY SLU Financial Aid office.

Award Notification and Application
Awardees will be notified no later than April 15, 2019. All awards are for the 2019-2020 academic year and the first term award will be applied to each recipient’s incumbent balance in September 2019.

For eligibility information and to apply, please click here or call /email Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083.

Application deadline is March 19th, 2019.

Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor (Deadline: 2/19/19)

The period is now open to file an application for the Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor for Fall 2019 admission. Well qualified candidates should be encouraged to apply. The two-year Scholarship offers students enrolled on the graduate track up to $30,000 and, those enrolled on the undergraduate track up to $20,000.

Eligibility:

Applying for the Diversity Scholarship is a two-step process. The first step is to apply and be accepted to an academic program by the deadline date indicated below. Graduate candidates must be first-time applicants, accepted to the MA in Labor Studies program (MALS). Contact Rob Callaghan at Rob.Callaghan@slu.cuny.edu At the baccalaureate level, candidates must be accepted to, or currently enrolled in the Urban and Community Studies program. Contact Cherise Mullings at Cherise.Mullings@slu.cuny.edu

Continue reading Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor (Deadline: 2/19/19)