With the release of their annual report on the state of labor in the United States, SLU professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce have shown that organized labor remains far stronger in New York City and state than elsewhere in the nation — but that union erosion has also contributed disproportionately to low-wage job growth.
Ten-years after the Great Recession of 2008, employment has rebounded in New York City and in New York state, where the unemployment rate was 4.0% in July 2019. However, this job growth has been disproportionately concentrated in low-wage industries, especially in the private sector. This year’s report, State of the Unions 2019, A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, reveals that in recent decades, losses in union membership have been disproportionately concentrated in the private sector, a trend that accelerated after the Great Recession. By contrast, in the public sector, union density has been relatively stable in the City, while declining slightly over the past few years in the U.S. and New York State. Continue reading SLU Professors Publish Annual State of the Unions Report
This post was originally published at The Diamondback. Reposted with permission.
By Olivia Delaplaine
Top on the long list of worries for most graduating students is the prospect of finding a job. Each day a hiring manager doesn’t email us back or a website removes a job listing — and the looming anxiety of paying back exorbitant student loans draws closer — our desperation grows. Soon, we abandon pipe dreams of a livable salary with health insurance and paid leave, and begin to search for any work we can find.
We enter interviews insecure, self-conscious and vulnerable. We might take the first offer that comes our way, because we don’t know any better. We feel like it’s a privilege to even be offered a job; so who are we to ask for a higher salary, fixed hours or better health insurance? It’s not like we had the chance to negotiate as a part-time student employee, teaching assistant or intern. We may have even tolerated daily harassment or intimidation while doing our jobs, unable to do anything about it. Why should we expect that to change?
So instead of convincing us that we should dress up and put on a show for companies and organizations that won’t even pay us a living wage, our institutions of higher education should have a central role in preparing students for the workplace. Just as they’re active in teaching us marketable skills, they should be teaching us about how to negotiate fair pay and benefits.
Continue reading Labor Rights and College Education
Thursday, December 6th, 2018
6pm – 8pm ET
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 W. 43rd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036
Despite the recent weakness of the U.S. labor movement, young workers are invigorating unions and other working-class organizations throughout the country, showing the promise of a new broad-based progressive movement. Social media-driven movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, along with the emergence of left political organizations and young candidates for local and national office, have also played an important role in sparking new organizing among younger workers. At the same time, student debt is skyrocketing, permanent full-time jobs are harder to find, unemployment and underemployment are prevalent among low-income young people and communities of color, and increases in housing/living costs far surpass increases in real wages for many young workers. Continue reading Event: The Next Generation: Young Workers Building Movements (12/6)
This post was originally featured at Mobilizing Ideas.
By Ruth Milkman
Two years ago I focused my ASA Presidential address on social movements led by Millennials, building on Karl Mannheim’s classic treatise on “The Problem of Generations.” As the first generation of “digital natives,” and the one most directly impacted by the economic precarity that emerged from the neoliberal transformation of the labor market, the Millennial generation has a distinctive life experience and worldview. Disappointed by the false promises of racial and gender equality, and faced with skyrocketing growth in class inequality, Millennial activists embrace an explicitly intersectional political agenda. This generation is the most highly educated one in U.S. history, and indeed it is college-educated Millennials who have been most extensively galvanized into political activism. My address documented their role as the dominant demographic in four high-profile 21st-century social movements: Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the “Dreamers” and the campus-based activism around sexual assault (which later helped spark the multi-generational “Me Too” movement).
When I researched and wrote that piece, there was little evidence of a significant Millennial presence in the organized labor movement. In fact, young workers have been underrepresented among labor union members for decades, in part because of the scarcity of new union organizing efforts. But now that may be changing. In 2017, over three-quarters of the increase in union membership was accounted for by workers under 35 years old, as a recent Economic Policy Institute post noted. (The total number of U.S. union members in 2017 rose by about 262,ooo over the previous year, although the unionization rate was unchanged.) In addition, survey data show that Millennials express far more pro-union attitudes than their baby boomer counterparts do. Continue reading Millennials and the Labor Movement that Refuses to Die
What’s the relationship between unionization and the racial pay gap?
According to a new report by Murphy Institute Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, unions narrow the racial divide in wage levels. The report states:
Blacks have higher unionization rates than any other racial/ethnic group. Those who are union members reap substantial economic advantages, such as improved earnings, more job security, and greater access to employer-provided health insurance and pensions.
An annual publication from the Murphy Institute, the report provides a wealth of information about unions in New York City, New York State and beyond, providing union density levels by geography, industry, race, gender, earnings, education, and other variables, and showing modest growth of unions at both the City and State level.
On Friday, the report was covered in a NY Times article called Unionization Important to Closing Racial Wage Gap, Study Says.
See the full report here.