Knowledge builds strength: labor history course being offered

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MANHATTAN — As the labor movement comes under increasing attacks, our members will have an ideal opportunity this fall to arm themselves with some powerful history lessons.

A U.S. labor history course will again be offered by CUNY’s Murphy Institute. Classes will be held at our Metropolitan Region office.

Students will be exposed to critical events in labor history, such as the strikes in the 1950s and 60s that led New York City Mayor Robert Wagner to sign an executive order granting collective bargaining rights to public sector workers here in New York. They’ll also be immersed in the lives and work of legendary labor leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Walter Reuther.

“We’re really excited about this course,” said Metropolitan Region President Lester Crockett. “It’s often been said that you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. For aspiring labor leaders, this class will help build that foundation.”

The course will examine working class life and the evolution of the U.S. labor movement within the larger framework of U.S. history, with specific regard to class formation, industrial development and the major developments of the organized labor movement.

Students will also explore the relationships of workers to unions, formal and informal economies, race and gender, technology, the American state and cultural, political and social movements. Special emphasis will be placed on the issues that gave birth to public sector unionism, the foundations of the labor movement, and the milestones in the labor movement’s progress during the last century.

“CSEA members should have an opportunity to learn this history and see what it took to win the rights we have as union members, especially with the Janus case,” said New York State Psychiatric Institute Local President Theresa Toliver, who took the course when it was offered to members several years ago.

Students will be awarded four college credits upon completion of the course that can be applied toward a labor certificate or toward a Bachelor’s in Labor Studies.

State workers who live in New York State can pay for the class with a voucher from the New York State/CSEA Partnership for Education and Training. Members interested in signing up for the course should contact the Partnership at 518-486-7814 or 1-800-253-4332.

We are also asking that you call Joel Schwartz, CSEA deputy director of Contract Administration at 212-406-2156 to let him know you’re registering for the course.

— David Galarza

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