Category Archives: Organizing

Gray and Green Together: Climate Change in an Aging World

Source: Robert B. Hudson, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017

…Beyond documenting the mounting toll that climate change is taking on elders and others, there is obviously need to design and carry out interventions to mitigate the damage that such change will inevitably bring. Importantly, it is here where elders can be cast as players as well as victims. Older adults represent an enormous latent resource that can be mobilized to address the global warming challenge. Elders have knowledge, resources, and an intergenerational as well as personal stake to bring to this effort, one which clearly has “manifest destiny” written all over it.

How to get more elders involved in addressing climate change and what form that involvement might take are core elements of this issue of Public Policy & Aging Report. The articles here address a number of questions, including how concerned about climate change—absolutely and relative to younger age groups—are today’s elders; how to understand what role older adults play around global warming—change agents or contributors; and how can older people mobilize to meet the climate change challenge on behalf of themselves, their descendants, and the population at large….

Articles include:

Greening Gray: Climate Action for an Aging World
Source: Michael A. Smyer, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Growing Old in a Changing Climate
Source: Gary Haq, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

How to Effectively Debunk Myths About Aging and Other Misconceptions
Source: John Cook, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Mobilizing Older People to Address Climate Change
Source: Karl Pillemer, David Filiberto, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)
Elders and Climate Change: No Excuses
Source: Rick Moody, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

The Scream of Nature
Source: Kathy E. Sykes, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Never Too Old to Care: Reaching an Untapped Cohort of Climate Action Champions
Source: Susanne C. Moser, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

Coconstructing Environmental Stewardship: A Detroit-Driven Participatory Approach
Source: Peter A. Lichtenberg, Carrie Leach, Nicholas Schroeck, Brian Smith, James Blessman, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 1, 2017
(subscription required)

The Paradox of Community Power: Cultural Processes and Elite Authority in Participatory Governance

Source: Jeremy R. Levine, Social Forces, Vol. 95 no. 3, March 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
From town halls to public forums, disadvantaged neighborhoods appear more “participatory” than ever. Yet increased participation has not necessarily resulted in increased influence. This article, drawing on a four-year ethnographic study of redevelopment politics in Boston, presents an explanation for the decoupling of participation from the promise of democratic decision-making. I find that poor urban residents gain the appearance of power and status by invoking and policing membership in “the community”—a boundary sometimes, though not always, implicitly defined by race. But this appearance of power is largely an illusion. In public meetings, government officials can reinforce their authority and disempower residents by exploiting the fact that the boundary demarcating “the community” lacks a standardized definition. When officials laud “the community” as an abstract ideal rather than a specific group of people, they reduce “the community process” to a bureaucratic procedure. Residents appear empowered, while officials retain ultimate decision-making authority. I use the tools of cultural sociology to make sense of these findings and conclude with implications for the study of participatory governance and urban inequality.

Divisions Of Labor

Source: Barbara Erenreich, New York Times Magazine, February 23, 2017

New kinds of work require new ideas — and new ways of organizing. …. The old jobs aren’t coming back, but there is another way to address the crisis brought about by deindustrialization: Pay all workers better. The big labor innovation of the 21st century has been campaigns seeking to raise local or state minimum wages. Activists have succeeded in passing living-wage laws in more than a hundred counties and municipalities since 1994 by appealing to a simple sense of justice: Why should someone work full time, year-round, and not make enough to pay for rent and other basics? Surveys found large majorities favoring an increase in the minimum wage; college students, church members and unions rallied to local campaigns. Unions started taking on formerly neglected constituencies like janitors, home health aides and day laborers. And where the unions have faltered, entirely new kinds of organizations sprang up: associations sometimes backed by unions and sometimes by philanthropic foundations — Our Walmart, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. ….

Dimick on Other Avenues Unions Can Serve their Members (and Encourage Membership)

Source: Matthew Dimick, Workplace Prof blog, Guest Post, February 23, 2017

…A few weeks ago, OnLabor.org featured a post I wrote about the Ghent system and progressive federalism. At the end of that post, I referred to “other avenues for Ghent-type experiments” beyond the main one discussed in the article, which would require changes in the current federal-state cooperative system of unemployment insurance. Mentioning these “other avenues” prompted several queries from readers, and I will use this opportunity here at the Workplace Prof Blog to talk about those.

First, some background. To remind readers, the Ghent system is a form of union-administered (but government paid-for) unemployment insurance that has a substantial, positive impact on the rate of union membership in the countries that have it. What makes the Ghent system a prospect for union revitalization in the US is the system of unemployment insurance we have here, which basically incentivizes states to adopt, finance, and administer their own unemployment-insurance systems subject to federal guidelines and oversight by the Secretary of Labor. It also helps that states are given more latitude under federal labor law preemption when it comes to the design and administration of unemployment insurance….

Race Capitalism Justice

Source: Boston Review, Forum I, 2017
(subscription required)

Walter Johnson, Harvard historian and author of the acclaimed River of Dark Dreams, urges us to embrace a vision of justice attentive to the history of slavery—not through the lens of human rights, but instead through an honest accounting of how slavery was the foundation of capitalism, a legacy that continues to afflict people of color and the poor. Inspired by Cedric J. Robinson’s work on racial capitalism, as well as Black Lives Matter and its forebears—including the black radical tradition, the Black Panthers, South African anti-apartheid struggles, and organized labor—contributors to this volume offer a critical handbook to racial justice in the age of Trump.

Get Your Protest On: Tips for Taking It to the Streets

Source: Rebecca Givan, Labor Notes, February 9, 2017

On January 28 I woke up, heard the news about immigrants being detained because of the president’s executive order, and decided to head over to New York’s JFK Airport. …

…. My union often participates in actions beyond our own workplaces, but because this executive order happened so suddenly, we had no time to get organized….

This was a large, safe protest where many participants didn’t have much protest experience. Here are a few lessons and observations:

1. Dress warmly and flexibly. ….
2. Wear your union logo on your sleeve, sign, or shirt. ….
3. Bring your own sign. ….
4. Bring supplies to share with others. ….
5. Manage your food and water intake. ….
6. Trust community groups and organizers. ….
7. Affected communities to the front. ….
8. Elected officials help. ….
9. Numbers matter. ….
10. Lawyers can work in parallel to protestors. ….
11. Use what you’ve got. ….
12. Use social media well. ….
13. Share good news. ….
14. When you get home, tell people you were there. ….

How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump

Source: Brandon Ellington Patterson, Mother Jones, February 7, 2017

Donald Trump repeatedly expressed hostility towards Black Lives Matter activists during his presidential campaign, particularly for their efforts to confront police brutality. Now, faced with a Trump agenda whose repercussions for African Americans could reach far beyond policing, BLM organizers say they are broadly expanding their mission. …. In the wake of Trump’s immigration order, BLM organizers mobilized their networks to turn out at airports to protest. The groups also fired up their social media networks to amplify calls for the release of detained travelers. BLM leaders say their strategy will evolve as more details become known about what Trump plans to do on matters ranging from policing and reproductive rights to climate change and LGBT issues. They will focus on combating what they see as Trump’s hostile, retrograde agenda—and that of right-wing politicians emboldened by Trump—primarily at the state and local levels. ….

Solidarity Outlasts ‘Right to Work’ in Indiana Shipyard

Source: Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes, February 2, 2017

Plenty of union officers are justifiably worried about how many members will quit their unions if Congress or the Supreme Court imposes “right to work” conditions on the whole country.

But when right to work hit Indiana in 2012, it didn’t have much impact at the Jeffboat shipyard in Jeffersonville. “I believe we only have one person that’s dropped out,” said Teamsters Local 89 Business Agent Jeff Cooper. That’s one out of 700.

The Jeffboat story might reassure you—because their secrets to maintaining membership aren’t expensive or complicated. The union has a deep bench of stewards who seek out and address workplace problems. Because members strike when necessary, they’ve won good wages and health insurance that make the value of the union contract self-evident. And they’re systematic about asking new hires to join.