Distinguished Professor Ruth Milkman has just released her 13th book, Immigration Labor and the New Precariat, published by Polity. In it, she suggests that immigration is not the cause of growing inequality, as promoters of the “immigrant threat narrative” claim. Rather, the influx of low-wage immigrants is a consequence of a concerted effort on the part of employers to weaken labor unions, along with neoliberal policies fostering outsourcing and deregulation. Check it out!
Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat
Polity Book, 2020
Immigration has been a contentious issue for decades, but in the twenty-first century it has moved to center stage, propelled by an immigrant threat narrative that blames foreign-born workers, and especially the undocumented, for the collapsing living standards of American workers. According to that narrative, if immigration were summarily curtailed, border security established, and “”illegal aliens”” removed, the American Dream would be restored.
In this book, Ruth Milkman demonstrates that immigration is not the cause of economic precarity and growing inequality, as Trump and other promoters of the immigrant threat narrative claim. Rather, the influx of low-wage immigrants since the 1970s was a consequence of concerted employer efforts to weaken labor unions, along with neoliberal policies fostering outsourcing, deregulation, and skyrocketing inequality.
These dynamics have remained largely invisible to the public. The justifiable anger of US-born workers whose jobs have been eliminated or degraded has been tragically misdirected, with even some liberal voices recently advocating immigration restriction. This provocative book argues that progressives should instead challenge right-wing populism, redirecting workers’ anger toward employers and political elites, demanding upgraded jobs for foreign-born and US-born workers alike, along with public policies to reduce inequality.
SLU will begin the Fall 2020 semester in distance learning and remote work modality. The University will continue to employ distance learning for most classes throughout the semester, until it’s safe for students and staff to return to the physical campuses.
In preparation for distance learning this fall, SLU’s faculty are currently engaged in intensive remote education professional development. A student survey has gone out to identify their needs, and a new student portal is being created to ensure that new and continuing students have the training, resources, and academic support that they need.
With regard to reopening CUNY’s campuses, the Board of Trustees has given the colleges flexibility to make plans to suit their specific needs, subject to approval by the Central administration.
No one is more determined to succeed than Diaraye Bah.
Born in Guinea, Diaraye majored in biology at the Universite Gamal Abdel Nasser de Conakry (UGANC) before emigrating to the United States in 2012. She currently works as a Patient Care Associate at Metropolitan Hospital, taking vital signs, executing EKGs and collecting specimens from patients. Drawing blood is what she likes most. “That’s my favorite thing to do,” Diaraye chuckles. “People think I was a vampire in another life. But I’m good at it. I’m very gentle.” But even Diaraye was daunted when the coronavirus struck. “Work became very demanding and very dangerous. The stress is high and as part of the floating staff pool, I work in different areas of the hospital. But it is worth the effort.”
Diaraye also believes higher education is worth the effort. Determined to become a nurse, the DC37 member saw a notice about SLU’s College Prep Program on the union’s website. Then she met Becky Firesheets at a CUNY Day info session. Becky helped her complete her application for nursing school, and encouraged her to attend College Prep to improve her proficiency in reading, writing, and elementary algebra. Diaraye’s kids, her cousin Fatima, and her colleagues all urged her to do so as well. And so Diaraye enrolled — in both courses. Continue reading Profile in Determination: Diaraye Bah, College Prep Student
To get more people organizing labor, more people need to know what organizers actually do. Which is why we were thrilled to see Teen Vogue feature a day in the life of Nastaran Mohit: labor champion, current organizing director of the NewsGuild of New York — and SLU alum. From the article:
It’s a tough time to be in journalism. Revenue sources are dwindling and new layoffs seem to be announced every day — and the COVID-19 pandemic sent another shockwave through the industry. That’s where Nastaran Mohit comes in. As organizing director of the NewsGuild of New York, Mohit works to unionize the staff at newspapers, magazines and online publications, so that reporters, editors and social media staff have access to the benefits and protections they so sorely need. The NewsGuild, a sector of the Communications Workers of America, represents more than 24,000 journalists and other media workers across the U.S. and Canada. Mohit has led successful campaigns to unionize publications including The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine and BuzzFeed. Here’s a window into the life of a busy union organizer.
Read about a day in the life of Nastaran here.