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Fight for $15 Picks Up Steam

It’s all happening. Last Wednesday, the New York state wage board appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended a state-wide minimum wage of $15 for fast food workers in NYC and throughout the state. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted for a $15 minimum wage for those working in its unincorporated areas by 2020, which will complement the minimum wage hike for workers in the City passed in May.

Who else is making moves in the $15 direction? The UC system, Kansas City (well, $13), Washington, DC.

Justin Miller wrote up a nice roundup of these developments over at the American Prospect on Friday. As he writes, “All in all, it has been a highly successful week for minimum wage campaigns around the country.”

Indeed.

Photo by MTEA via flickr (CC-BY).

Greece Today: Sean Sweeney on the Future of Greece’s Energy System

Murphy Institute Professor Sean Sweeney just returned from Athens, where he delivered a presentation entitled Third Memorandum or Grexit: What are the implications for the Future of Greece’s Energy System? at the Democracy Rising conference. In his talk, Sweeney explained:

…[E]nergy will be at the heart of the struggles in Greece in the years ahead, Memorandum or Grexit. Energy poverty has grown with austerity and recession, and Syriza has taken measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from, for example, electricity disconnections.

But it is clear that the structure of Greece’s energy system also needs to change. The “Institutions”, through the Memorandum, have a clear sense of what restructuring energy means for them—full-on privatization. However, a left restructuring would seek to address two major challenges: firstly, Greece’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and, secondly, how to take advantage of its potential to generate large amounts of renewable energy.

Sweeney presents a thorough analysis of Greece’s choices given the country’s uncertain future and the real, pressing need for “a new economy and a new society.”

Access the full presentation at Trade Unions for Energy Democracy.

Photo by Martin Abegglen via flickr (CC-BY-SA).

Introducing: ALRexchange.org

Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program seeks to broaden and strengthen communications and exchanges between China and U.S. universities and unions. 

www.ALRexchange.org is an English-Chinese bilingual website, developed by Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program to serve as a hub of resources for both academics and practitioners in the field of Labor Relations. More than five hundred searchable bilingual bibliographies, contract languages, training materials, relevant Labor Relations articles and U.S.-China comparative curriculum materials for the study of labor relations have been posted and shared in our website. Find it on our resource page.

The website also includes “Labor in the News”, featuring news from the labor field in the U.S., China, and worldwide on a weekly basis. To further this unique comparative perspective, the team also tweets these updates via Chinese social media, Weibo, to interact with our Chinese audience directly. Continue reading Introducing: ALRexchange.org

Special Topics Graduate Class: Worker Cooperatives

The Labor Studies Program invites all CUNY and non‐CUNY
graduate-level students to enroll in our special topics
graduate class:

WORKER COOPERATIVES

Facilitated by Immanuel Ness & Christopher Michael

Tuesdays, Sep. 1st to Dec. 22nd, 2015 from 6:15 to 8:45pm

Worker cooperatives have become a compelling alternative to traditional labor‐management forms of labor relations in the 21st century and with the rise of the Global Financial Crisis. The class examines worker control and cooperatives in comparative historical and geographic perspective. We will examine the historical experiences of worker cooperatives throughout the world, their successes, and challenges, and we will also focus on the growing world of worker owned cooperatives in New York City, examining the practical, economic and political aspects of their work. The class will make use of readings, film, and guest speakers with practical expertise in worker control and cooperatives.

NOTE: This graduate course is open to all non‐degree/non‐matriculated students who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Current CUNY graduate students should register for the course via E‐Permit @ CUNY Portal and pay tuition to their home college. Once a permit is approved and processed the course will appear on the tuition bill and your course schedule will be generated by the home college. For more information about registration and tuition and fees, please contact Irene.Garcia‐Mathes@cuny.edu / 212‐642‐2050

Photo: Sergey Galyonkin CC-BY-SA

Murphy Scholarship Event: Diversity and Labor

On Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015, the Murphy Institute hosted the third annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor reception and awards ceremony. The reception, which began with remarks from CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken and Murphy Director Greg Mantsios, was followed by a formal program featuring three rising leaders in the labor movement: Shaun Francois, President, Local 372, DC 37 AFSCME, Dolly Martinez of the Retail Action Project, and Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for change.

Six students were then awarded full scholarships to attend Murphy programs: Adriane Hudson, Jack Suria Linares, Onieka O’Kieffe, Stacey Payton, Andrea Pluas and Nadya Stevens.

The program ended with a tribute to Arthur Cheliotes, the President of Local 1180, Communication Workers of America, who was presented with the Joseph S. Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contributions to the Murphy Institute and to the workers of New York.

Congratulations to all the award recipients and to the growing Murphy community!

Union Semester Students Explore New York City

By Michael Murphy

As part of the Union Semester program at the Murphy Institute, students are enrolled in a course titled “Work, Culture, and Politics in New York City.” The course readings are designed to complement trips to museums, archives, guided tours, and industrial sites such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, allowing students to take advantage of the wealth of resources offered by the city. Recently, the class visited two outdoor parks that have changed the way New Yorkers think about the potential uses of public space, the built environment, and the waterfront.

First, the class traveled to the High Line in Chelsea to explore the intersection of industry, nature, and economic development. This former elevated railway was transformed into a public park by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line, which generated financial support from private donors and the city. It runs along Tenth Avenue until a sharp turn at West 30th Street allows visitors to meander closer to the Hudson River. During our visit, students were asked to take a photo that connects this unique urban space with the themes of the course. Continue reading Union Semester Students Explore New York City