Category Archives: Media

Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination

The latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, continues to gain coverage, this time over at Al Jazeera. In an article by Murphy alum Ned Resnikoff (Unionization found to reduce pay discrimination, Al Jazeera, 9/7/15), the writer outlines some findings from the report:

The earnings gap between black and nonblack workers is smaller among union members than among members of the labor force as a whole, according to a report issued Friday from the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.

The report found that unionized black workers make a median $21.62 per hour, roughly 10 percent less than unionized nonblack workers’ $24.04 hourly wage. Nonunion black workers earned a median $13.65 per hour, compared with nonunion nonblack workers’ $17.00 — a nearly 20 percent pay disadvantage. Continue reading Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination

New Yorker Coverage of Book by Prof. Michael Fortner

Murphy Institute Professor Michael Fortner’s hotly anticipated new book Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment gains yet more coverage with the latest edition of the New Yorker. In Kelefa Sanneh’s review, Body Count, the writer places Fortner’s book in conversation with the latest from Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) as well as Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow:

This summer, the Black Lives Matter movement got a literary manifesto, in the form of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” (Spiegel & Grau), a slender but deeply resonant book that made its début atop the Times best-seller list[…]

Four decades ago, a number of black leaders were talking in similarly urgent terms about the threats to the black body. The threats were, in the words of one activist, “cruel, inhuman, and ungodly”: black people faced the prospect not just of physical assault and murder but of “genocide”—the horror of slavery, reborn in a new guise. The activist who said this was Oberia D. Dempsey, a Baptist pastor in Harlem, who carried a loaded revolver, the better to defend himself and his community. Dempsey’s main foe was not the police and the prisons; it was drugs, and the criminal havoc wreaked by dealers and addicts. Continue reading New Yorker Coverage of Book by Prof. Michael Fortner

Praise for Murphy Institute via DC37

The latest issue of the DC 37 newsletter features a column by Murphy Institute alum Moira Dolan singing high praise for Murphy programs, faculty and students. Dolan is senior assistant director at the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Department and recently graduated from the Murphy Institute, in part thanks to assistance from the DC 37 Education Fund. She writes:

Because of my work in the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept. the Labor Studies Program at CUNY was a perfect fit[…]

Some of my favorite teachers included Ed Ott, who taught public sector and public policy, and who told many fascinating anecdotes from the past; Ruth Milkman, who taught labor and immigration; Steve Jenkins from SEIU 32 B-J, who instructed us on corporate research methods; and Josh Freeman, who taught labor history.

As compelling as these educators were, my fellow students were even more interesting. Through them, I got to know what it’s like to work at other unions — or be represented by other unions.

To read the full article, click here.

Report: State of the Unions 2015

What’s the relationship between unionization and the racial pay gap?

According to a new report by Murphy Institute Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, unions narrow the racial divide in wage levels. The report states:

Blacks have higher unionization rates than any other racial/ethnic group. Those who are union members reap substantial economic advantages, such as improved earnings, more job security, and greater access to employer-provided health insurance and pensions. 

An annual publication from the Murphy Institute, the report provides a wealth of information about unions in New York City, New York State and beyond, providing union density levels by geography, industry, race, gender, earnings, education, and other variables, and showing modest growth of unions at both the City and State level.

On Friday, the report was covered in a NY Times article called Unionization Important to Closing Racial Wage Gap, Study Says.

See the full report here.

Making History: Banning the Box & Labor in Queer America


We’re living in historic times. Over the past few months, we’ve seen marriage equality become the law across the United States. More locally, we’ve seen the NYC Fair Chance Act fundamentally alter the economic opportunity landscape for those with criminal records, requiring public and private sector employers to wait until after a conditional job offer to make any inquiries about criminal history.

Just how did we get here? On this week’s edition of Building Bridges Radio with Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash, the hosts talk with Miriam Frank, author of Out in the Union: A Labor History Of Queer America, along with Brandon Holmes, Community Civil Rights Organizer with VOCAL-NY, which has been instrumental in NYC’s Ban the Box efforts.

Check it out.

Prof. Stephanie Luce on the Uber Ruling

In a potentially striking blow to the Uber-ization of the state’s economy, the California Labor Commission declared this week that a San Francisco-based Uber driver is an employee, and not an independent contractor, of the company. The implications of this ruling could be far-reaching, requiring the company to start offering benefits and protections to its drivers — which it has, until now, managed to skirt.

In an article by Amy Langfield on CBSMoneyWatch, Murphy Institute Prof. Stephanie Luce explains:

“Employers have been increasingly shifting the risks of the employment relationship onto workers – whether in the form of classification as independent contractor, or moving to on-call scheduling, shifting from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions (or to no pension at all), and so on […] Workers and worker organizations have been resisting and fighting back – not just in the U.S., but in other parts of the world (similar issues are happening in Europe – and Uber is also engaged in similar legal battles in many other countries).”

“I think the ruling is significant both because of its impact on such a large and growing global company (Uber), but also for the possible spillover effects to so many other industries that have been moving in the same direction of attempting to evade the legal responsibility of the employer/employee relationship[…]”

For the full article, visit CBSMoneyWatch.

Photo by noeltock via flickr (CC-BY-NC).