Fellow Moshe Marvit published an article in Dissent Magazine interviewing Dan Kovalik, senior associate general counsel of the United Steelworkers, following an article Kovalik wrote for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Gazette piece focused on the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko, adjunct professor at Duquesne University. Vojtko passed away in poverty after being fired from the university during her last year of her life. Marvit's article was subsequently cited in Huffington Post's coverage of the issue.
Excerpt from the Dissent interview:
Dan Kovalik: As I’ve come to learn, and I didn’t realize it until about a year and a half ago when adjuncts approached us to organize, the conditions are just abysmal. The folks that came to me at that time were making $3,000 for a three-credit course. So say you teach a load of two courses a semester, and you have two semesters a year, then that’s $12,000 right there. No benefits. Maybe you get a summer course in there, so maybe you make $15,000 per year. That’s barely enough to live on, especially if you have a family. I know a guy who teaches seven courses per semester to make ends meet at three different universities. They call it a “milk run.”
TCF fellow Amy Dean for In These Times on whether working people will have a say in the neoliberal metropolis. "The successes in Denver, Houston and other metropolitan regions—where grassroots groups have rewritten top-down blueprints into plans for broad prosperity—show that we not only need growth," Dean writes; "we need growth that supports the expansion of the middle class. We not only need jobs; we need good jobs."
There are no fortresses for labor; no metaphorical stone walls that we can shelter ourselves behind to try and ride out the onslaught. MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, said that we must “Organize the South or Die,” and she is absolutely correct. The fact of the matter is that without a deliberate, concerted effort to organize in the states of the old Confederacy, there will not be a labor movement worth speaking of within the next ten years, and all the gains for working people that brave men and women fought and bled and died for over the past century will be clawed back by rapacious corporate oligarchs bent on societal domination.READ MORE
TCF senior fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg and fellow Moshe Marvit cited in the Los Angeles Times regarding labor organizing. Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice, written by Kahlenberg and Marvit, argues "that workers seeking to organize unions should be covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against workers for reasons of race, gender, age or disability."
TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg and fellow Moshe Marvit in U.S. News and World Report on economic civil rights. "Where the March on Washington succeeded in procuring certain political rights," Kahlenberg and Marvit write, "it fell short in procuring the economic rights demanded. Strengthening the long-recognized right to join a union through the self-same civil rights legislation that changed employment practices carries the promise of renewing the great alliance that was represented during the March."
TCF fellow Mark Thoma cited in Wonkblog's discussion of the polarizing labor market. As Thoma has noted, research indicates extreme polarization in specific occuptions rather than broad industries. Brad Plumer notes that "lower-wage jobs like food preparation and personal care have grown fast. So have high-end jobs in management, finance and health care. But a number of middle-class occupations, particularly teaching and construction, have continued to decline."
In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.
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