It is rarely noted that the greatest burst of labor militancy in the history of the United States, the 1919 strike wave, overlapped with the worst health crisis in the country’s history, the 1918–19 influenza pandemic. Four million workers struck in 1919, one-fifth of the workforce, a proportion never since equaled.
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.
On this month’s show…
Randi Weingarten; Chicago Teachers Union Vice President
Stacy Davis Gates on the strikes of 2019 and what comes next.
Photo: Professor Lu Zhang speaks about labor conditions inside Chinese auto factories.
By Stephanie Luce
I recently returned from two weeks in China, where I participated in a scholar exchange sponsored by the American Sociology Association, Labor and Labor Movements section. The exchange was the third piece of an ongoing effort to increase communication and collaboration between Chinese and US scholars. There were 8 sociologists in our delegation, along with Katie Quan, the coordinator of the program.
We spent time in Beijing at a conference on labor relations, then meeting with union officials and organizers from worker centers. I then spent a week in Hong Kong meeting with more labor activists, as well as people involved in the Umbrella movement. I’ll report on what I learned about the labor movement here, and in a second post I will write about the Umbrella movement. Continue reading Observations From a Trip to China: Part I→
Kafui Attoh is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute.
The World Cup is upon us! All praise be to FIFA! In less than a week, millions of people worldwide will tune into what promises to be the largest global bread and circus event of the year. Indeed, an estimated half a million fans will descend on Brazil itself — no doubt, to partake in the spectacle first hand. As is now common with these mega events, the World Cup boasts its own theme song — a predictably forgettable anthem by J-Lo and Pitbull called “We Are One (Ole Ola).” It will also have its own cuddly mascot — Fuleco, an anime-inspired “three-banded Armadillo.” Reportedly, Fuleco is modeled on an endangered species native to Brazil.
With all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, the World Cup is a big deal. For the host nation, the finances alone are absurd. Since “winning” the right to host the tournament seven years ago, Brazil has spent $11.3 billion on Cup related infrastructure projects. Many of these projects — despite the desperate need for hospitals and better transit — have been limited to new arenas and new stadiums. An additional $800 million has been spent on security alone as roughly 170,000 security personnel have been dispatched across the country to regulate crowds and secure arenas. “Ordem without Progresso,” as Brazilians might say.