Category Archives: New Labor Forum


Journalists Gather to Discuss Labor and the Elections at Murphy

Last Friday, Sarah Jaffe, Juan Gonzalez, Errol Louis, Michael Hirsch and Ed Ott participated in a panel discussion in front of a packed house here at Murphy. The panelists analyzed the 2014 midterm elections, looking at what happened this time around and discussing the implications for the future.

Miss the Forum? Check out the livestream, embedded below and archived on our new YouTube channel.


Rev. Al Sharpton Talks Protest and Policing at Murphy

Earlier this semester, a full house attended a special forum entitled “From Protest to Policy: Policing in Communities of Color,” kicking off the Fall 2014 Labor Breakfast Forum series at the Murphy Institute.

The event was moderated by CUNY Prof. John Mollenkopf and featured the Reverend Al Sharpton, who talked about the controversial policing tactics seen in present-day and past New York City, the effect these tactics have had on minority communities as well as the effect they have on the overall crime rate, and the quality of life for all New York City residents. The discussion also looked at arrest trends and potential public policy interventions.

Reverend Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, is an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election. He hosts his own radio talk show, Keepin’ It Real, and he makes regular guest appearances on Fox News (such as on The O’Reilly Factor), CNN, and MSNBC. In 2011, he was named the host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, a nightly talk show.

Labor & the Climate Justice Movement at Murphy

On Friday, Oct 31st, the New Labor Forum hosted Bill McKibben, Jill Furillo, Chris Erikson, Estela Vazquez and Sean Sweeney to discuss labor and the climate justice movement. Check out some of the conversation here:



Want more from the New Labor Forum? Come to one of our upcoming events.

The next Labor and Policy Forum will be held on November 14th. Look forward to a discussion about the 2014 Midterm Elections, featuring Ed Ott, Sarah Jaffe, Juan Gonzalez Errol Louis and Michael Hirsch.

The Murphy Institute Fall 2014 Labor and Policy Forums

September 17, 2014, 6:00-7:30 pm
Wisconsin Rising: Film Screening & Discussion

September 19, 2014, 9:30-11:15 am
From Protest to Policy: Policing in Communities of Color.

  • Reverend Al Sharpton, founder and president, National Action Network
  • Moderator: John Mollenkopf,  Director, Urban Research Center, CUNY Graduate Center

October 31, 2014, 8:30 to 10:30 am
“Temperature Rising: Labor and the Climate Justice Movement”
Cosponsored with Cornell GLI/Worker Institute

  • Bill McKibben, Founding President,
  • Jill Furillo, Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association
  • Christopher Erikson, Business Manager, Local 3 IBEW
  • Estela Vazquez, Executive VP, 1199 SEIU
  • Moderator: Sean Sweeney, Cornell GLI/Worker Institute

November 4, 6:00-7:30 pm
“The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class”

  • Guy Standing, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

November 14, 2014, 9:30-11:15 am
“2014 Elections: Who Won, Who Lost?”

  • Juan Gonzalez, co-host, “Democracy Now”, The Daily News columnist
  • Errol Louis, host, Inside City Hall, NY1 TV
  • Sarah Jaffe, independent journalist, columnist for New Labor Forum
  • Michael Hirsch, national editor, Politico Magazine
  • Moderator: Ed Ott, Distinguished Lecturer, The Murphy Institute

December 5, 2014, 8:30 am-3:30 pm
“Civic Engagement & the Latino Community”

Cosponsored with BridgeRoots, Common Cause, Demos, Citizen Action, New American Leadership Project, NALEO, NYC LCLAA, New York Immigration Coalition, City and State Magazine

And in 2015:

January 23-24, 2015, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
“Invisible Lives, Targeted Bodies: Impacts of Economic Injustice on Vulnerable LGBTO Communities”
Co-sponsored with Queer Survival Economies Initiative, Barnard College

  • Panel 1: Whose Communities? LGBTO Perspectives on Surviving in Poor and Low Income Communities
  • Panel 2: Economic Injustice and Queer Low-Income & Precarious Workers
  • Panel 3: Queer Migrations
  • Panel 4: Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice

Should Labor Boycott Israel?

Whose Side Are You On?

By Andrew Ross

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaign is shaping up as one of these historical moments when everyone has to choose which side they are on. Trade unionists have good reason to know what this feels like. Labor history is punctuated with similar contests, when nuanced views on strategy have run their course and we are left with a stark moral choice. For too long, the debate about how best to oppose the occupation of Palestine has been clouded, often intentionally, by strenuous deliberations over tactics. As for those in official positions, the formidable sway of pro-Zionist lobbying has been disturbingly effective. Elected politicians have AIPAC watching their every move, and high officialdom within the AFL-CIO has the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) to placate. As Richard Trumka put it plainly at a JLC dinner gathering in 2009: “Tonight, let me tell you that, so long as I’m president, you will never have a stronger ally than the AFL-CIO. That’s why we’re proud to stand with the JLC to oppose boycotting Israel.”

Read The Full Debate Here

Engage, Don’t Divest from Israel
By Jo-Ann Mort

Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its continued control of movement in Gaza is unjust and inhumane. It must be ended as quickly as possible. Israel and Palestine must exist as two states side by side. How can this be achieved? I don’t believe that boycotting

Israel, or the overall BDS prescription for change, is the correct response—not for the labor movement, nor for other movements or individuals.

The current Israeli government is a right-wing government with a smattering of centrist parties devolved from a very complex—and partly dysfunctional—parliamentary system. I don’t support it. But boycotting this government will only make it stronger. That’s because the tendency inside Israel—and especially on the right—is to hunker down in response to boycotts. Poll numbers rise for the right when there are visible attacks on Israel, and savvy politicians—especially Israel’s Prime Minister—make ample use of these opportunities to strengthen their own base at the expense of the left.

Read The Full Debate Here

Photo by ☪yrl via flickr (CC-BY-NC).