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SLU Students In Action: Brian’s Story

By Brian Fleurantin, M.A. in Urban Studies Program

For the past year, I’ve been working as a Care Manager at Housing Works. In that time, I’ve worked with various clients across New York City assisting them with finding housing, access benefits, etc. It’s rewarding, yet challenging work. Beyond the daily challenges of work, various conditions I and my coworkers have experienced led to us working with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to form a union and walking off our jobs on October 29th.

Being there in that moment, speaking at the rally, and discussing work-related issues with my co-workers has been an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve gotten to see firsthand what my fellow coworkers have gone through and have used the things I’ve learned at SLU to work in solidarity with my colleagues to fix our work environments. It’s been difficult, especially with management reverting to classic union-busting tactics, but we as workers have been able to counteract their tactics and show the truth of what’s going on. It’s also been amazing to see the support we’ve gotten outside of the company, from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams all the way up to U.S. Senator and recent presidential candidate Kamala Harris. I feel very proud to be standing in solidarity with my co-workers and union workers across the country and around the world.

Click on these links to learn more about our walk-out:

Union Semester Success Story: Brittany Anderson

How do you create a labor organizer? SLU’s Union Semester program is a good place to start. Just ask Brittany Anderson.

Brittany suspected early on that the American Dream wasn’t real for most working people. Raised in rural Minnesota by a single mom who worked multiple jobs, income inequality wasn’t a theoretical concept, it was a daily reality. So she decided to do something about it.

Brittany moved to New York City for college in 2008 and got involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. “I had no idea how huge the labor movement was, how powerful. It really opened my eyes,” she said. The young protester from the Midwest quickly found herself under the wing of seasoned union organizers, who recognized her passion and potential. They told her about the Union Semester program at CUNY’s Murphy Institute and in Spring 2014 she enrolled.

“The program really helped prepare me for a career in the labor movement,” Brittany said. Continue reading Union Semester Success Story: Brittany Anderson

NEW DEADLINE: Spring 2020 Tuition Scholarship Application Now Open

DEADLINE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO JANUARY 9th, 2020

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) is offering both continuing and new SLU students and LEAP to Teacher (LTT) students tuition assistance scholarships for the Spring 2020 semester. Scholarships will be awarded on a semester-by-semester basis by the SLU Scholarship Committee. Transcripts, financial aid information and enrollment will be reviewed to ensure recipients continue to meet scholarship eligibility requirements. Students must re-apply each semester to be considered for a scholarship for the next term.

Please read the application instructions and FAQ carefully and complete the application thoroughly. Pay attention to deadlines.  Deadlines are different for the SLU and the LEAP to Teacher scholarships. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted nor reviewed.

APPLY HERE

Video: Going Big: Reversing Trump’s Agenda & Modernizing Labor Rights

On Friday, November 15th, SLU hosted a Labor Forum on the future of labor rights. 135 people attended to hear how the labor movement can fight for workers’ rights and protections while the Trump administration continues to attempt to roll them back.

Featured speakers included:

  • Randi Weingarten — President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
  • Steven Greenhouse — Veteran New York Times labor journalist and author of the new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.
  • Vincent Alvarez – President of NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Although union density is near an all-time low, labor activism has surged in many sectors. From adjunct faculty to video game developers, digital media workers, platform app drivers, and public school teachers, labor movement activism is growing in a number of key sectors. This is happening as many full-time jobs with benefits are disappearing, consumer/student debt is skyrocketing, the “gig economy” is expanding, and economic insecurity is increasing for American workers and families. Housing and child care costs – which heavily impact workers’ income, wealth, and health – have also become more burdensome for many families. Under President Trump, a number of worker rights and protections have been weakened or denied, including:

• No movement toward federal minimum wage increase

• Weak overtime protections for salaried workers

• Allowing employers to self-report wage violations and escape penalties • Siding with employers against rights of gay and transgender workers

• (Mis)classifying Uber drivers and others as independent contractors, denying them basic rights

• Continuing ‘Right-to-Work’ efforts kickstarted by Supreme Court’s Janus decision

• Restricting workers’ right to organize at franchised businesses like McDonald’s

• De-funding and weakening OSHA

What should be Democrats’ top policy priorities to strengthen all workers’ rights? What are the most significant gaps and weaknesses in protections for worker organizing and economic rights today? ‘Right-to-work’ laws? Legal constraints against strikes and other worker actions? Minimum wage? The growing numbers of workers who fall outside the protections of the NLRA? Lack of livable safety net benefits for displaced and underemployed workers? Lack of protections for flex/gig workers? What new policies would best promote stronger worker protections and greater economic justice?

Event: PRIMER ON THE PRIMARIES: #Election2020 (11/23)

RSVP HERE

Saturday, November 23, 2019
12:30pm-2:00pm
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY * 18th Floor * Rooms 18 C-D

Featuring:

Basil Smikle, Jr. PhD

– Political Commentator – CNN, MSNBC

– Faculty – Columbia University

– Former Executive Director – NYS Democratic Party

What rules and procedures govern primaries, delegate selection, and party conventions?

What do unions and other political action groups do during primary season to promote the candidates, issues, and proposals they support?

Bring your questions and comments!

Doors open at 12:00pm. Program begins at 12:30pm.

Lunch will be served.