Tag Archives: feature


Spend This Spring in the NYC Labor Movement!

“It let me know that there are ways to have a career in social activism…I can say that this is the most I ever learned in one semester of my life.”   – student participant

New York Union Semester pairs students with union internships and Labor Studies classes. Dig deep into a movement for worker’s rights and social change this semester!

group photo 2 ed.

• Intern four days a week with a union or worker organization in New York City. Students might get experience in research, organizing, public policy, communications, workforce development, and more.
• Enroll in Labor Studies courses at the Murphy Institute and earn a Certificate in Labor Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
• Take advantage of many networking opportunities in the labor movement and get to know the New York City labor movement from the inside.
• Earn a $7,000 living stipend and scholarship to help cover costs of tuition (all in-state), fees and living expenses.


While we accept applications on a rolling basis, you should submit your application and other application materials by November 10th, if you are applying for the Spring Semester.

Find more information and the application at www.unionsemester.org.

Information on tuition and fees available here.

Watch our coordinator talk about the program, then call or email at 212-642-2075 or sarah.hughes@cuny.edu.

Dates for the Spring 2016 Semester:

First day of orientation: January 25, 2016

First day of internship: February 1, 2016

Last day of internship: May 12, 2016

Last day of program/celebration: May 20, 2016


State Workers Sucker-Punched in Fight for $15 Proposal

Workers in New York State have reason to be excited: Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken steps toward raising the statewide minimum wage to $15. To many, this might seem like an obvious victory for workers and activists who have been engaged in the long fight for $15/hr. But, as Henry Garrido, executive director of DC 37 — New York City’s largest public-sector union — argues in City & State, it might not be quite the win that it appears to be:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently called for raising New York’s minimum wage to $15, which, if enacted, would be the highest statewide minimum wage in the country.

“It’s wrong to have any economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, where the American dream of mobility and opportunity has become more of a cruel myth,” Cuomo declared in announcing the plan.

Indeed, at a time when workers throughout the country have been plagued by stagnant wages, the “Fight for $15” is a worthy battle that deserves all of our support. Continue reading State Workers Sucker-Punched in Fight for $15 Proposal

Sean Sweeney Talks Paris, Climate on City Watch

Last week, Murphy Professor Sean Sweeney appeared on City Watch to talk with Mark Dunlea about the upcoming climate summit in Paris, and the fight against “not letting science get in the way of business as usual.” The two discuss the climate justice movement, mobilizations and global emissions.

Listen below.

Photo by John Duffy via flickr.

NYCHA, Representation & Service Provision: A Student’s Perspective

Featured photo via Urban Upbound

By Paula Bonfatti

For the past three months, I have interned in the research department of Urban Upbound, a nonprofit organization that provides services to public housing residents in Queens, New York. Urban Upbound supplies this community with tools and resources needed to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency; their vision is to help residents break cycles of poverty. They primarily serve the Queensbridge Housing Development, which — with its 3,142 apartments — is known as America’s largest operating public housing project.

Master of Arts in Urban Studies Candidate Paula Bonfatti Lima
Master of Arts in Urban Studies Candidate Paula Bonfatti Lima

In New York City, there are over 607,000 people living in public housing developments under the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). 110,000 (18.1%) of these residents are children under 18 years old. Historically, public housing developments have been criticized by the mainstream as isolated, low-income urban population. Some critics contend that this housing creates vertical structural poverty in socioeconomically depressed neighborhoods. In addition, critics charge that these concentrated pockets of poverty are subject to high crime rates, unemployment and low turnover. However, NYCHA has 328 public housing units throughout the City’s five boroughs and serves 175,747 families, and has committed itself to playing an important role in fighting urban poverty and leveraging economically vulnerable communities. Continue reading NYCHA, Representation & Service Provision: A Student’s Perspective

The End of Tipping?

The food & labor worlds have been abuzz with the news that acclaimed New York restauranteur Danny Meyer has eliminated tipping in his restaurants in favor of higher hourly wages for workers.

This comes on the heels of a similar trend in other cities: in Seattle, for instance, a rising minimum wage has led many restauranteurs to raise prices. Some restauranteurs have compensated by eliminating tipping from their restaurants; in other cases, patrons are choosing not to tip, sensing, begrudgingly or not, that their servers are finally being well-compensated.

A catastrophic disruption to the food service industry as we know it? Hardly. Labor advocates and consumers alike have been praising the trend — with some even arguing that it doesn’t go far enough. Continue reading The End of Tipping?

Remembering Rosalyn Baxandall (1939-2015)

[10/19/15: Murphy Prof. Ruth Milkman wrote a short piece commemorating Rosalyn Baxandall’s life for Jacobin Magazine. Check it out here. – Ed.]

Professor Rosalyn Baxandall died Tuesday evening. Following her retirement from SUNY Old Westbury, the Murphy Institute was very fortunate to have Ros come teach labor history. Ros was a pathbreaking feminist scholar whose activism and writing brought women into labor history and women’s work into focus for scholars across the disciplines. All of us who care about social history, labor, feminism and the role of struggle and movements in shaping the direction of our society and our studies are indebted to Ros, for her example as well as her contributions to our fields.

From the New York Times obituary, published today:

[Baxandall] helped create Liberation Nursery, the first feminist day care center in New York. As an early member of New York Radical Women and Redstockings, she picketed the 1968 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, one of the most visible of the feminist protests of the ’60s, forever associated with a symbolic burning of restrictive women’s clothes that mainstream publications referred to as a “bra burning.”

She played a prominent role in the abortion “speakout” in the West Village in 1969, a forum at which women described in public their experiences in obtaining illegal abortions.

Recalling those days in an interview with the feminist activist Jacqueline Ceballos in 1991, Ms. Baxandall said, “The one thing that I do have against the books that are written is they talk about all the politics and the splits, et cetera, but they don’t talk about the joy and fun we had.” She added, “We knew were changing history, and it was terrific.”