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Worker Institute Blog

Delivery Biker in New York City

The Worker Institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to address issues related to confronting systemic inequality and building a fair economy, robust democracy and just society. We will share opinion, analysis, research, data, insights and training from our faculty and staff. 

On Labor Day let’s honor workers by protecting their lives

The Worker Institutes' Patricia Campos-Medina writes an opinion piece for the NJ Star-Ledger on the importance of honoring workers on Labor Day by honoring their lives at work.
Essential Workers Protest for the Safe Workplace

What’s the Connection between COVID-19 and Climate Change? Inequality

The triple crises of COVID-19, climate change and soaring inequality present a moment of great peril and opportunity for the U.S.
sign on a post saying: "one world" over a graphic of the globe to illustrate unity and the planet

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Inequality in the United States

A blog written by Ileen A. Devault, Academic Director of the Worker Institute and Professor of Labor History.

The Impact of Phase-4 Reopening in New York State on Workers

Hunter Moskowitz outlines some of the key aspects of New York State phase-four reopening as it impacts workers.
sign in a window saying: "open"

Essential workers need more than a Bill of Rights. They need unions.

Service workers need more than a ‘Workers Bill of Rights’ to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. They need union representation.
Call Center Workers Protesting

Understanding The Increase in Domestic Violence During the Coronavirus Pandemic as a Union Issue

KC Wagner discusses Domestic violence as a growing concern for unions during the COVID-19 crisis.
abstract texture to illustrate hope and sadness

Cornell Union Leadership Institute Student Survives Covid-19

Gene Carroll, Co-Director of the NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute (ULI) writes on an experience of a member of the current Institute class who contracted COVID-19
Robert Kelley

Interview with Zaborah Roane, a childcare professional for over 20 years

Zaborah Roane has worked as a childcare professional for over 20 years. She is a member of the NDWA and a leader of We Dream in Black’s Raleigh chapter, a project of the NDWA to empower Black domestic workers.
Zaborah Roane

Interview with Eddie Quezada, a produce worker in Long Island and Covid-19 survivor

Eddie Quezada has worked in the produce department of the grocery industry for 32 years. He is a Covid-19 survivor and still witnesses social distancing guidelines being ignored.
Eddie Quezada

Interview with Briskella Garas, a member of IBEW Local 3

Briskella Garas works at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in northern Manhattan. She feels as if her employer has taken many steps to protect workers, including measures to enforce social distancing and provide PPE for any interactive work.
Briskella Garas

Interview with Nicanora Montenegro, a home care provider in California

Nicanora Montenegro is a home care provider in San Diego, California. She is Vice President of UDW-AFSCME 3930 District 1 and believes that home care providers should be considered as essential, front line workers.
Nicanora Montenegro

Interview with Duane Townes, working in construction in New York, NY

Duane Townes has worked in construction since 2014. He was working on a project at a school before the Covid-19 pandemic but has since taken a position delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) at Bellevue Hospital in New York.
Duane Townes

Labor Solidarity and Racial Injustice

See all stories in Labor Solidarity and Racial Injustice

Opinion – All Undocumented Immigrants Deserve Citizenship – Not Just Essential Workers

Shannon Gleeson outlines the situation faced by undocumented workers, and discusses potential futures for them including pathways to citizenship and their relationship.
man wearing a mask and high-vis vest riding a delivery bike

The Intervention White America Needs

Tristan Ivory, Assistant Professor, International and Comparative Labor, writes about the history that led to this moment and direct actions to address systemic racism and poverty.
Protesters hold a sign saying "Boiling Point" during protests against the killing of George Floyd.

About Violence and Resistance

Risa L. Lieberwitz, Professor of Labor and Employment Law, writes about the meaning and history of violence and resistance.
Photos of Tributes to Eric Gardner and Michael Brown.

A Call for Radical Labor Solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Five labor scholars write to denounce racial injustice and call for radical labor solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and all movements for racial justice.
Black Lives Matter Protest in Ithaca New York

Latinos stand with #BlackLivesMatter because we both fight for justice and equality

"Our movement for immigrant worker justice is a struggle to reclaim the humanity of immigrant workers in a capitalist economy that thrives on dividing workers by race and nationality." The Worker Institute's Patricia Campos-Medina writes an op-ed in the Star-Ledger.
Patricia Campos-Medina (foreground) at a racial inequity protest organized by local students in Flemington on Saturday

Racial and Economic Inequality in NYS within the Context of the Pandemic and Protests against Racism

The average annual salary from 2014 to 2018 in New York state for a white worker was $60,808 as compared to $40,707 for a black worker in New York state, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
dollar bills illustrating pay

The Ithaca Voice's Guide to Tompkins County school reopening

“Schools are not accustomed to looking at their buildings from the standpoint of communicable disease,” says Nellie Brown, Director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs at the Worker Institute in an interview with the Ithaca Voice.
Ithaca Voice Logo

Returning Workers Still Question Workplace Safety As Pandemic Continues

With more workers making their way back to their jobs, some provided an update about their recent experiences during a joint panel discussion and press event hosted by The Worker Institute and ROC United.
ROC NY Worker in a cafe

Little known unemployment program is helping businesses avoid layoffs

In an effort to prevent layoffs amidst this tumultuous economic situation, many states including New York have embraced a shared work system. Maria Figueroa, Director of Labor and Policy Research at the Cornell ILR School, explained how the system works.
Sign on store saying "Sorry we're closed"

Can schools safely reopen? Cornell University Health and Safety Director weighs in

Nellie Brown speaks with Local SYR on the adaptations that schools need to make to reopen safely and the logistical and financial barriers that will entail.
Can Schools Reopen Safely News Story

School Boards Worry About Time, Money When It Comes to Reopening

Nellie Brown speaks with Spectrum News about schools reopening and recommends districts first put together a joint labor-management committee that includes the school nurse, the district’s attorney, the HVAC folks, teachers, staff, and administration.
Capital Tonight News Program

State Guidelines For Reopening Schools Are "A Skeleton" To Be Adapted To Specific Buildings

Nellie Brown speaks with Fox 40 Brown about school reopening, noting school buildings aren't exactly designed with the transmission of communicable diseases in mind and that each building will present its own host of problems.
Fox 40 Coronavirus Coverage

Virtual Climate Jobs and Just Transition Summit set for Sept. 22

Registration is open for the virtual Climate Jobs and Just Transition Summit, Sept. 22. Confirmed speakers include John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, Nobel Laureate Marilyn Brown, Bloomberg Philanthropies' Climate Lead Antha Williams and New York State Climate Policy and Finance Chair Ali Zaidi. 
Workers building clean energy

Fair and Safe Return to Work: Protecting Workers and Communities during Reopening

This webinar will examine the issues that workers and communities are facing as New York City undergoes phase 4 of the reopening of its economy.
person wearing a mask working behind a bar at a restaurant

Strategies for a Worker-Centered Reopening and Recovery

On July 1st the Worker Institute at Cornell University, ILR School convened an online webinar, Strategies for a Worker-Centered Reopening and Recovery, moderated by Juan González, Co-Host, DEMOCRACY NOW!
Worker writing on a whiteboard with a mask.

Clean Energy and COVID-19: Green Priorities for the Economic Recovery

Worker Institute Executive Director, Lara Skinner speaks on a panel presented by eCornell, "Clean Energy and COVID-19: Green Priorities for the Economic Recovery."
Solar panels in a field.

Gig Worker Rights in New York State during the Covid-19 Crisis and Beyond

"COVID is becoming an occupational disease,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos in her closing remarks in this Worker Institute hosted panel.
Man wearing a face mask riding an e-scooter on a city street

Building Worker Power in NY State during the Covid-19 Crisis and Beyond

The virtual convening featured national and local labor leaders sharing insights on how workers have acted collectively during the Covid-19 crisis.
Building Worker POwer in NY State during the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond