On November 30, 2010, Christine Owens, president of the National Employment Law Project, spoke to a group of over fifty students, staff, faculty and community members on Georgetown’s campus about the labor market challenges our nation’s workers face. She highlighted the loss of 8.5 million jobs between December 2007 and December 2009, noting that we have only recovered a fraction of that number. She also spoke about the paradox of our economy: while corporate America is thriving, this bonanza is not shared by most rank and file workers. [Read more…]
On November 29-30, 2010, Workplace Flexibility 2010 in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation hosted “Focus on Workplace Flexibility,” a one-and-a-half day conference that convened scholars, policy practitioners, as well as leaders from government, business and labor to discuss work-life integration in the face of social and economic changes that affect the way work is done. The conference began Monday night with a dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. [Read more…]
Diana Karakos of the International Labor Rights Forum reflected on what she learned about living wage apparel from the Kalmanovitz Initiative’s panel discussion of the Alta Gracia factory last month.
The Alta Gracia apparel factory, located in the Dominican Republic, represents a living wage miracle to both the workers who are fortunate enough to have landed a job at the factory as well as labor rights advocates around the world. Financed by Knights Apparel, the factory produces collegiate sportswear such as sweatshirts and t-shirts. Knights began renovating the old BJ&B garment factory, which had stood empty in Villa Altagracia for years, in October of 2009 and in February 2010 began hiring workers. Knights even went so far as to try and hire as many workers as possible from the closed BJ&B factory who had suffered extreme hardship since its closing in February 2007. This experiment is proving to critics that it is possible to provide a living wage to workers, allow them to unionize in order to reach a collective bargaining agreement with factory management, and still be able to make a profit. Altagracia has grown from the ashes of the hollow shell that was the old BJ&B factory, an eyesore that only reminded villagers of their misfortune, and has flowered into the Alta Gracia factory, a building that now stands as a beacon of hope for the hard working Dominicans. [Read more…]
On Friday, October 22, 2010 the Kalmanovitz Initiative co-sponsored a lunch talk on flexible work arrangements in the union context. Dr. Peter Berg of Michigan State University presented his recent research on this topic, which offers original insights for unions, employers, researchers, and advocates. Discussants included Elizabeth Bunn, Organizing Director at the AFL-CIO; Armeta Dixon, Vice President, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; and Kris Rondeau, Organizer and Negotiator, AFSCME. Jennifer Luff, Research Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative, moderated.
The Kalmanovitz Initiative is excited to welcome Elisabeth Springer and Grace Wallack as our Day Laborer Exchange coordinators in 2010-2011!
Elisabeth Springer (COL ’11) is majoring in Government with a minor in Chinese. She helps facilitate the DLE program’s growth and greatly enjoys traveling to the 14th and P corner each week to tutor and talk with the workers. After graduation she will live in Yogya, Indonesia, doing community development and education work on a Princeton in Asia fellowship.
Grace Wallack (COL ’13) is majoring in American Studies with a minor in Economics. Before DLE, Grace worked at Jews United For Justice, a DC-based social justice organization, where she coordinated their annual Labor Seder. She is currently a tutor at the Georgetown University Writing Center, and she can often be spotted around Georgetown on a Capital Bikeshare bike.