The New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council has voted to recommend a resolution to the to the delegates of the federation’s 32nd Constitutional Convention calling on state officials to establish a new school for labor and urban studies within the City University of New York (CUNY). As envisioned, the new school will prepare the next generation of union and community leaders, while providing a wide range of educational opportunities for workers in general.
With a focus on issues confronting today’s workforce and working class communities, the new school will offer courses in such topics as labor relations, public policy, labor law, politics, and economics. In addition, the school will work with CUNY colleges to establish academic programs in a range of other fields, providing the education and credentials workers need for career advancement.
“We’re looking to strengthen labor in an era when corporations are willing to spend limitless money and resources to try and weaken it,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “We need to educate our members and the general public about workers’ rights and the role of unions in defending them: it’s time for a school for labor.”
CUNY is the largest urban public institution of higher education in the nation with over a half million students and a long history and tradition of serving the needs of working people. It offers more than 1,200 academic and technical programs at 24 colleges and schools. The call to establish a new school is seen as an outgrowth of CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, which has been serving union members and adult workers for nearly three decades.
The resolution calling for a new labor school will go before the full convention of the New York State AFL-CIO this August.