Category Archives: Murphy News

css.php

SLU Professors Publish Annual State of the Unions Report

With the release of their annual report on the state of labor in the United States, SLU professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce have shown that organized labor remains far stronger in New York City and state than elsewhere in the nation — but that union erosion has also contributed disproportionately to low-wage job growth.

Ten-years after the Great Recession of 2008, employment has rebounded in New York City and in New York state, where the unemployment rate was 4.0% in July 2019. However, this job growth has been disproportionately concentrated in low-wage industries, especially in the private sector. This year’s report, State of the Unions 2019, A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, reveals that in recent decades, losses in union membership have been disproportionately concentrated in the private sector, a trend that accelerated after the Great Recession. By contrast, in the public sector, union density has been relatively stable in the City, while declining slightly over the past few years in the U.S. and New York State. Continue reading SLU Professors Publish Annual State of the Unions Report

CUNY SLU Appoints Deepak Bhargava as Distinguished Lecturer of Urban Studies

Starting this fall, CUNY SLU will have another long-time social justice leader in its ranks: Deepak Bhargava has been appointed to serve as Distinguished Lecturer of Urban Studies, filling one of the school’s rotating Distinguished Lecturer positions.

Mr. Bhargava brings more than 25 years of experience in public policy, campaign building, social justice advocacy, and non-profit management. For 16 years, he served as President and Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, one of the country’s pre-eminent centers for grassroots community organizing in low-income communities of color. 

“I am incredibly excited to work with the CUNY SLU students and faculty,” said Mr. Bhargava. “This is a community that is deeply committed to labor rights and community issues, and it is an honor to be able to learn from and work with such talented and committed people. As a long-time non-profit leader and social justice campaigner, I look forward to contributing to this growing community of thinkers and doers, and to helping to develop the people and ideas that will power a new era of social change.”

As a frontline activist, Mr. Bhargava has played a major role in several national efforts to bring about change through collective action. He has strengthened the field of community organizing in the U.S., nurtured the modern immigrant rights movement; helped launch national coalitions to fight for health care reform, reduce poverty and advance immigrant rights; and trained thousands of young leaders and activists.

 Deepak Bhargava brings an immense amount of knowledge and real-world practice to the classroom,” explains SLU Founding Dean Gregory Mantsios. “His commitment to uplifting underserved communities exemplifies the CUNY SLU belief that with concerted efforts we can make our City, State and nation a better place for all.”

Mr.  Bhargava currently serves on the boards of the Open Society Foundations (US), JPB Foundation, Bauman Foundation, as well as the editorial board of The Nation magazine. He has written extensively about community organizing, public policy related to poverty and economic justice, progressive strategy, civic engagement and racial justice among many other topics. 

This coming semester, Mr. Bhargava will lecture both at the graduate and undergraduate levels, teaching courses in “Public Issues” and “Social and Economic Policy in the U.S.”

“We are thrilled to have Mr. Bhargava join the SLU faculty,” explains Urban Studies Department Chair Steve London. “Our students will greatly benefit from his years of social justice advocacy, activism, policy expertise, and experience in campaign building and grassroots organizing.  Our faculty looks forward to collaborating with Mr. Bhargava on important research topics such as immigrant rights, and I have no doubt that his contributions to the SLU community will help us fulfill our social justice and workers’ rights mission.”

SLU Graduate Nicolas Pineda Featured on DC37 Radio

After graduating with a BA in Urban Studies, Nicolas Pineda, Jr. was the undergraduate speaker at SLU’s very first commencement ceremony this past spring, This coming fall, he’ll be starting his advanced certificate in Labor Studies. His has been a sometimes surprising journey into city work and then the labor movement — and SLU has played a pivotal role in that journey. Pineda shared his story, and the story of studying at the Murphy Institute as it transitioned into SLU, and what it’s been like to study under labor greats like Ed Ott on the DC37 radio show a few weeks back. It’s an illuminating listen. Check it out here.

CUNY SLU Welcomes New Students

On Thursday, July 24th, CUNY SLU welcomed 37 new students from all programs for our first fall 2019 new student orientation! Faculty, SLU advisors, and student services staff were on-hand to provide students with the resources and tools needed to prepare for the fall 2019 semester and information about best practices. We look forward to welcoming our new students as well as continuing students this fall semester for what promises to be an exciting year.

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

Frances Fox Piven Profiled In the NYTimes

SLU professor Frances Fox Piven has been no stranger to press in her 86 years — many of which have been spent as a rabble-rousing leftist activist and respected leftist intellectual. Last week, Prof. Piven got yet one more feature to add to the list: a NYTimes profile by Alex Traub that describes her role in an evolving left, and the leadership she’s providing to a new generation of activists:

“She’s someone whose body of work shows that you don’t have to drift off into this La-La Land of intellectualism,” [Jacobin editor Micah] Uetricht said. “People should be going on strike. People should be withdrawing their labor power or causing chaos in society. That’s where their power comes from.”

Probably the most influential vector for Ms. Piven’s ideas is the social-justice incubator Momentum, a training program for progressives that formed in 2014.

Trainees include members of the Sunrise Movement, whose occupation of Ms. Pelosi’s office with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked conversation about the Green New Deal. It was just the sort of disruption Ms. Piven advocates.

“What tactics we use is exactly the question that Piven is addressing,” said Lissy Romanow, 35, Momentum’s executive director. Part of Ms. Piven’s appeal, she said, came from her view that social movements are required for big left-wing victories — a perspective suited to a generation disillusioned with liberal business as usual.

The Times article focuses on Dr. Piven’s reverential status among labor organizers and activists, and how she has influenced the current progressive movement — which it says is “full of Pivenites.” In July, she will be headlining the Socialism2019 Conference “No Borders, No Bosses, No Binaries”, to be held in Chicago.

 Check out the rest of the article here.