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SLU Alum Nastaran Mohit in Teen Vogue

To get more people organizing labor, more people need to know what organizers actually do. Which is why we were thrilled to see Teen Vogue feature a day in the life of Nastaran Mohit: labor champion, current organizing director of the NewsGuild of New York — and SLU alum. From the article:

It’s a tough time to be in journalism. Revenue sources are dwindling and new layoffs seem to be announced every day — and the COVID-19 pandemic sent another shockwave through the industry. That’s where Nastaran Mohit comes in. As organizing director of the NewsGuild of New York, Mohit works to unionize the staff at newspapers, magazines and online publications, so that reporters, editors and social media staff have access to the benefits and protections they so sorely need. The NewsGuild, a sector of the Communications Workers of America, represents more than 24,000 journalists and other media workers across the U.S. and Canada. Mohit has led successful campaigns to unionize publications including The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine and BuzzFeed. Here’s a window into the life of a busy union organizer.

Read about a day in the life of Nastaran here.

Diana Robinson Named to City & State’s Top 40 Under 40

This year, City & State inaugurated its list of Labor’s 40 Under 40 in New York City. And SLU’s very own Diana Robinson, coordinator of the Union Semester Program, was one of the labor leaders featured on the list! Congratulations, Diana!

From City & State:

Diana Robinson connects her activism and desire to play a role in the labor movement to the history of her family.

“I come from an immigrant family and social justice was always something really important to me,” she says. “I’m happy to be able to repay (my parents) for all they’ve done.” Her father is from Providencia Island, Colombia, while her mother immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic.

Around 2006, she became involved with organizing protests in support of the federal DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, “when there was a lot of talk around comprehensive immigration reform,” Robinson recalls.

At first, she thought she wanted to be an immigration attorney, but had second thoughts about playing a role in a system that is often dehumanizing for those trying to obtain legal immigration status in the U.S.

Instead, Robinson wound up interning at an association of street vendors in East Harlem, Manhattan, which she describes as “mostly Mexican women selling food and CDs.”

“I saw this very strong connection between immigrant rights and labor organizing,” she says.

That led to organizing work at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 and then with the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

In her current position, she mentors students at CUNY. “I saw this program as really important to help people interested in social justice,” she says. In Robinson’s view, the work being done in the labor social justice movement “has to be centered around racial justice.”

SLU Announces Two New Faculty Members

Dean Gregory Mantsios is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of the SLU faculty: Joel Suarez, Assistant Professor of Labor Studies, and Samir Sonti, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies.

Joel Suarez is coming to SLU from the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a Visiting Scholar in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. At UT, he also serves as a Qualitative Research Associate at the Dell Medical School, studying the health care experiences of formerly homeless and historically marginalized populations. Dr. Suarez holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University, an M.A in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. He has received a number of grants and awards, including the Davis Prize from Princeton University, and the Reed Fink Award in Southern Labor History from Georgia State University. Joel is the associate editor of the academic blog “Tropics of Meta,” and currently has a book in progress based on his dissertation, entitled Laboring for Liberty: Work and the Problem of Freedom in Modern America.

Samir Sonti holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sonti earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a concentration on 20th century U.S. labor and political economy. He has worked as a political organizer for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), and as a researcher for UNITE HERE, a union representing hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada. He is currently expanding his dissertation, entitled The Price of Prosperity: Inflation and the Limits of U.S. Liberalism, 1932-1980, for publication. Since 2019, Samir has been the Books and Arts Editor of SLU’s New Labor Forum. He will teach in both the Urban Studies and Labor Studies programs.

“We are very fortunate to have recruited scholars of the calibre of Joel and Samir to our School,” said Dean Mantsios. “Their academic achievements and their personal passion for the labor and social justice movements will help SLU grow and appeal to an expanding student population.”
Professors Suarez and Sonti will join SLU for the Fall 2020 semester.

Introducing: City Works

City Works is a NEW monthly news magazine program produced by the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) in collaboration with CUNY TV and hosted by Laura Flanders. The show’s mission is to create is a visual and thematic presentation of work, workers and worker organizations, employing topical examinations of the changing nature of work, tributes to unsung heroes, and analysis of the enduring challenges faced by workers. The show will spotlight the vast array of occupations of working people across New York City, and explore individual and collective efforts to make a better life for workers and a more prosperous and equitable society.

The first episode features an interview with former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, a field report on the gig economy, and on-the job profiles of a nail salon worker and one of New York City’s remaining blacksmiths. It also has a “Culture at Work” segment highlighting subway musicians.

City Works will appear the first Monday of every month at 8 PM.

 

CUNY SLU Welcomes New Students

On Thursday, July 24th, CUNY SLU welcomed 37 new students from all programs for our first fall 2019 new student orientation! Faculty, SLU advisors, and student services staff were on-hand to provide students with the resources and tools needed to prepare for the fall 2019 semester and information about best practices. We look forward to welcoming our new students as well as continuing students this fall semester for what promises to be an exciting year.