Podcast by CUNY SLU
Episode 45 - Logistics Workers Rise: UPS, Amazon, and Long-Haul Trucking
In this episode we examine the recent threatened strike and massive contract victory of the Teamsters as that union took on UPS, the nation’s largest unionized private sector employer. In September 2023, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien spoke about the strike weapon and labor’s resurgence at a large public forum hosted by the School of Labor and Urban Studies. Following his talk, he engaged with a panel of prominent labor activists and scholars. We feature highlights from O’Brien’s keynote address and his animated exchange with one of those panelists, the labor organizer and scholar Jane McAlevey.
Episode 44 - "The New Terrain of Veterans Affairs"
This episode focuses on a discussion of publicly funded and operated health care in the United States. If this might seem a pipe dream with no national precedence, the authors of the recent book, Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs, suggest it’s not. They describe the current system of VA Healthcare as a model for excellence and equity, worthy of support among public health care activists. Our Veterans, reviewed in the spring 2023 issue of New Labor Forum, offers a broad examination of Veterans Affairs, as well as essential information about the cost, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Episode 43 - "The Strike: Labor's Most Powerful Weapon"
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies faculty member Stephanie Luce speaks with trade unionists Judy Gonzalez and Bob Master about the conditions which make the strike labor’s most powerful weapon. Drawing on recent experience with the New York State Nurses Association strike at Montefiore and Mt. Sinai hospitals, Gonzalez details the preparatory work of the union that contributed to victory. And Master describes the manner in which his union, the Communications Workers of America, has over the years successfully drawn on the CWA’s long history of militancy.
Episode 42 - "Independent Unions: The Allure of a Failing Strategy"
This episode offers a provocative assessment of independent unionism as a strategy for building worker power in the U.S. In conversation with New Labor Forum Consulting Editor Joshua Freeman, Erik Loomis discusses his spring 2023 article for the journal, titled Independent Unions: The Allure of a Failing Strategy. Chronicling the besieged, ill-fated experimentation with independent unionism since the late 1800s, Loomis elucidates his doubts about the prospects for this strategy against today’s corporate behemoths.
Episode 41 - "Labor Power and Strategy"
This episode tackles the big labor organizing questions of the day: What is the relative strategic importance of organizing workers at the commanding heights of the 21st century economy, like the docks for example, versus organizing workers whose solidarity is strong, yet whose structural power within the economy is weaker, like those at Starbucks? And in a society teetering on the precipice of authoritarianism, what should be the scope and mission of labor organizing today?
Episode 40 - "The South: Jim Crow and its Afterlives"
In this episode, Adolph Reed, Jr. describes Jim Crow as a result of decades of post-emancipation contention between freed slaves, white farmers and laborers, and the ruling class of white planters and merchants. As an outgrowth of that contestation in various precincts of the South, Jim Crow’s rules and applications varied often significantly by locale. In his new book, The South: Jim Crow and its Afterlives, Reed describes his own interaction with these shifting, very often treacherous, rules as a way to explore power alignments that shaped Jim Crow and continue to shape its afterlives.