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)

Jumpstart Your College Career: Join Us for FREE Math & English Preparation Classes!

Are you an adult interested in college but worried your English and math skills aren’t quite up to par? Join us for an open house info session to learn more about Worker Education at the Murphy Institute’s FREE College Preparation Program!

This program, held at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) in collaboration with the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), offers FREE day and evening classes in both Reading/Writing and Elementary Algebra. One-on-one tutoring services, career advisement, and CUNY admission assistance are also provided at no extra cost.

Open House Dates

Thursday, April 11th, 11:30 am

Tuesday, May 14th, 5 pm

Thursday, June 20th, 12:30 pm

Thursday, July 18th, 6 pm

Tuesday, August 27th, 6 pm

Each open house will take place at SLU (25 West 43rd St, 19th floor) and will include information on the program, a meet-and-greet with the instructor, a Q&A, and assessment testing for interested participants. RSVP now by clicking here!

Classes begin on September 3rd, 2019 and run through mid-December. Participants must be 21 or older with a high school diploma or high school equivalency to participate.

Questions? Feel free to contact us at WorkerEd@slu.cuny.edu or 212-642-2040.

Learn more about all of Worker Education’s programs and offerings at slu.cuny.edu/worker-education.

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 18th, 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.

With today’s newsletter, we offer an article written for us by Bob Dreyfuss, editor ofTheDreyfussReport.com and frequent writer for Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect , and The New Republic . In his piece for New Labor Forum , Dreyfuss notes that Sanders and Warren, alone among the 14 candidates who have currently entered the 2020 Democratic field, have begun to elaborate foreign policy positions. Their unabashedly left positions, Dreyfuss argues, are without parallel since the 1972 candidacy of George McGovern. As centrist candidates and the U.S. military lobby apparatus gear up, Democratic foreign policy discussions are certain to shift to the right. And as that happens, Dreyfuss suggests we keep an eye out for a bold, new actor on the scene: Common Defense, an organization unwilling to cede any anti-war ground to the erratic gyrations of Donald Trump.

As the left continues its efforts to elaborate a foreign policy in the 2020 race, Ted Fertik, writing for N+1, urges a more accurate understanding of what he views as the widely mischaracterized Marshall Plan. Rather than an act of global generosity, he argues, its intent was to shore up U.S. capitalism and bourgeois political systems in Western Europe, and its distinct result was to feed the Cold War. “Marshall Plan-thinking”, Fertik argues, has held powerful sway in U.S. politics through the periods of the Vietnam War, wars in Central America, and the war in Iraq. It is this thinking to which the left must offer an alternative in a world made more complex by the rise of China as a global economic and military power.

Table of Contents

  1. The Left Gets a Foreign Policy, Sort of/Bob Dreyfuss, New Labor Forum
  2. Geopolitics for the Left/ Ted Fertik, N+1 Magazine
The Left Gets a Foreign Policy, Sort of.
By Bob Dreyfuss/ New Labor Forum
With the number of Democrats who’ve opted to challenge Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020 now well into double digits and growing, it’s notable that so far only two, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have put down markers on foreign policy. Both, hailing from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, have outlined in some detail the principles that, they say, would guide their approach to foreign affairs as president. Both outlines, of course, should be considered works-in-progress. Neither Sanders nor Warren have much of a track record when it comes to national security, and in 2016 the Sanders..

 

Geopolitics for the Left
By Ted Fertik/ N+1 Magazine
Not since the early years of the Iraq War has foreign policy dominated American headlines as it does in the age of Trump. The United States in the ’90s enjoyed the narcissism of the “New World Order,” and journalistic glances abroad mainly flattered this self-conception. After Bush, Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate, only to get the country embroiled in at least five additional conflicts, all more or less waged sotto voce, so as to minimize the tarnish imperial police…

Photo by ricardo via flickr (cc-by)

Video: Rights in Transit

On Friday, March 8th, members of the SLU community gathered to hear Professor Kafui Attoh in conversation with Eric Goldwyn of NYU’s Marron Institution. The conversation cenetered on a fundamental question: Is public transportation a right? Should it be?

Check out the full conversation here:

Is public transportation a right? Should it be? For those reliant on public transit, the answer is invariably “yes” to both. For those who lack other means of mobility, transit is a lifeline. It offers access to many of the entitlements we take as essential: food, employment, and democratic public life itself. Rights in Transit offers a direct challenge to contemporary scholarship on transportation equity. Rather than focusing on civil rights alone, Rights in Transit argues for engaging the more radical notion of the right to the city.

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

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 4th, 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.

Until recently, it has been assumed that among the most highly skilled and best paid soft-ware engineers and technicians, the chances of collective resistance to the labor and other managerial practices of the giants of the industry were virtually nil. However, journalist Julianne Tveten’s article for New Labor Forum’s winter 2019 issue records the growing fight back on the part of precisely these kinds of workers at places like Google and Microsoft. And some recent tech worker efforts have resulted in remarkable victories. Among them, the protest of senior engineers and others at Google that caused the company to end “Project Maven,” its contract with the Defense Department using artificial intelligence to improve the strike precision of the Pentagon’s drones. A distinct feature of this new organizing is the manner in which it combines political and more traditional labor organizing.

Protests against sexual harassment at Google have brought these forms of organizing together to achieve a very recent, notable victory. In Wired, Nitasha Tiku covers the protests’ latest results: the ending of the company’s practice barring workers from initiating class-action suits, or from suing over discrimination or wrongful termination. The widening ideological and political divide between Silicon Valley’s CEOs and its employees has, no doubt, contributed to these advances. Moira Weigel and Ben Tarnoff, writing for The New Republic, note that media outlets have largely failed to take account of tech workers’ growing tendency to eschew the libertarianism prevalent in the corner offices of Silicon Valley for the solidarity of the labor movement. As evidence of this yawning ideological divide, we invite you to view SpeakOut.Tech’s video incitement to tech workers to stand up against their employers, assuring them, “We’ve got your back,” words common in any union hall.
Table of Contents
  1. Daniel in the Lion’s Den: Platform Workers Take on the Tech Giants in the Workplace and the World/ Julianne Tveten, New Labor Forum
  2. Google Ends Forced Arbitration After Employee Protest/Nitasha Tiku, Wired
  3. The Stark Political Divide between Tech CEOs and Their Employees/Moira Weigel and Ben Tarnoff, The New Republic
  4. Tech workers have incredible power/SpeakOut.Tech

Continue reading New Labor Forum Highlights: March 4th, 2019

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