On May 1st, the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies faculty hosted “Rethinking Immigration,” an online conference featuring movement leaders, academics, and policy experts discussing the roots of the crisis we face, progressive immigration policy goals, and strategies to achieve those goals. The even featured Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and now, videos from the conference are up online for anyone who missed it. Check them out here.
Last Friday, members of the broader SLU community gathered for a discussion about voter suppression and the pathway to expanding the vote:
Given the especially high stakes of the 2020 election, the need for broad and unobstructed voter participation could not be greater. Yet the past decade has seen a plethora of legal curtailments on voting rights. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted strict photo ID requirements, curbs on early voting, and voter registration restrictions that have all served to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a major win of the Civil Rights movement. Finally, the perennial challenge of voter turnout still exists – over 25% of eligible voters are unregistered, and only 50% of registered voters are expected to vote, making the prospects for a truly democratic election in 2020 very concerning.
What lessons can be gleaned from a long history of heroic efforts to ensure equal voting opportunities and rights for all? What are advocates, unions, and other activists doing to combat voter suppression and promote voter registration and turnout in the upcoming election? What should be the top legislative priorities of a more progressive, post-2020 federal government to strengthen our democracy by expanding the vote?
Gloria Browne-Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Gerry Hudson Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Deepak Bhargava Distinguished Lecturer, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies Former Executive Director, Center for Community Change
By all accounts, “Our Economy!”—the first-ever faculty conference of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies—was an overwhelming success! More than 300 individuals attended, representing over 100 institutions and organizations. That number included dozens of SLU staff, faculty, and students. More than 50 speakers and presenters participated on 18 panels. And … an additional 500+ people viewed the livestream event on Facebook! Many connections and relationships created, fostered or were strengthened by this collaborative event.
On Friday, October 12th, members of the wider SLU community gathered to ask big questions about the future of the labor movement.
For more than a quarter century, workers and the U.S. labor movement have sustained significant setbacks, including the broad expansion of “right-to-work” conditions; the increasing use by employers of vehicles that enable them to shirk standard employer responsibilities; and the Supreme Court’s tendency to prioritize employers’ property rights over worker rights. Despite these trends, 61 percent of Americans view unions favorably; organizing and unionization among young workers is surging, with three-quarters of new union members in 2017 being under 35 years old; and 2018 saw the largest wildcat strikes in decades, with teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona challenging wage stagnation and school funding cutbacks. What does this imply about the possibilities and struggles ahead for labor? What are strategic options that would enable organized labor to succeed at mass organizing and to join forces with racial and economic justice organizations to become a movement?
It was a wide-ranging and probing conversation featuring Lauren Jacobs, Deputy Director, The Partnership for Working Families; Marilyn Sneiderman, Executive Director, Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, Rutgers University;
Larry Cohen, Chair, Board of Directors, Our Revolution, former president of Communications Workers of America (CWA); Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director, ALIGN NY; and SLU’s own Penny Lewis.
On Friday, September 14th, members of the SLU community came together to grapple with the vexing — and structural — questions at the heart of our politics: Can democracy be saved from the grips of capitalism? What factors most threaten meaningful civic engagement and what changes are needed to bolster our democracy and create a more equitable society?
On Friday, September 15th, members of the Murphy Institute community gathered for a discussion about gerrymandering. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case that deals with the legality of partisan gerrymandering, this panel explored the history of gerrymandering and the effects of recent changes in technology, data mining, and dark money.
Missed the event or want to see it again? You can watch it here:
David Daley, author, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy and former Editor in chief of Salon.com
Lauren Jones, National Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
Deuel Ross, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Jerry G. Vattamala, Director, Democracy Program, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Moderator:John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate School and consortial faculty, Murphy Institute
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice