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If Students’ Learning Conditions Are Teachers’ Working Conditions, These Students Are in Trouble

Michelle Chen, May 23, 2016, “If Students’ Learning Conditions Are Teachers’ Working Conditions, These Students Are in Trouble,” The Nation.

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New Report on SUNY Apparel Anti-Sweatshop Enforcement Efforts

May 2016  

The Solidarity Committee of the Capital District and Solidarity Research Center have released the report SUNY and Sweatshops: How is SUNY Enforcing its Apparel Anti-Sweatshop Policy?  It describes an investigation into how well the State University of New York (SUNY) is enforcing its five year old anti-sweatshop policy which is meant to deal with working conditions in the supply chain of its licensed apparel. The report concludes that the SUNY schools appear to be falling far short of a credible effort to deal with the sweatshop issue.

In the global apparel industry in general, many factories have been found to have sweatshop working conditions and this has been an issue of great concern for students and consumers for years.

A major problem is that the SUNY policy itself is fairly weak, requiring nothing more than self-certification by vendors that factory working conditions are in compliance with labor law. Furthermore, SUNY procurement officials appear to make little effort to gather more than the minimal amount of vendor information, often allowing factory names and locations to remain undisclosed.  Moreover, it appears that SUNY has not convened an anti-sweatshop advisory panel authorized by their policy.

The report concludes with a recommendation for all the SUNY schools to join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent monitoring group that collects supply chain information and investigates factories that produce college apparel. Currently only four out of 64 SUNY schools are WRC members.

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Media coverage:

Note: this report was written by Research|Action members when they were part of the Solidarity Research Center.

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Poll of NYC teachers reveals tough conditions, unpaid overtime

Ben Chapman and Lisa L. Colangelo, May 11, 2016, “Poll of NYC Teachers Reveals Tough Conditions, Unpaid Overtime,” New York Daily News.

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The Crisis in Our Schools: A Report on Working and Learning Conditions in NYC Public Schools

Authors: Movement of Rank and File Educators in collaboration with Solidarity Research Center

Date: May 2016

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) recently conducted a survey of United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members to find out more about their working conditions and students’ learning conditions. The findings of this survey indicate that the decay of the New York City schools has reached crisis levels under the leadership of the Unity Caucus, the incumbents in the current elections for leadership of the UFT. Change is urgently needed.

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Media coverage:

Note: this report was written by Research|Action members when they were part of the Solidarity Research Center.

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As city teachers vote, union chief Mulgrew faces small but spirited group of challengers

MORE is set to release a report Tuesday that makes the case that Mulgrew and de Blasio have failed to halt a steady deterioration of school conditions.

The report, titled “The Crisis in Our Schools,” is based on an online survey of 438 UFT members that MORE distributed last fall through social media, email groups, college professors, and other means. The respondents work in at least 200 schools across the city, according to MORE.

Nearly half of respondents said their school buildings are not in good shape, more than two-thirds said their schools do not devote adequate resources to students with disabilities, and almost a third said they are unable to make photocopies at school, the report says.

“Conditions continue to get worse,” Erik Forman, a MORE member who teaches in a Bronx high school, said in an email. Meanwhile, union leaders “fail to engage the membership in a campaign to fix the problems. Instead, they say, ‘Celebrate our schools.’’’

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From Herndon Homes to Two Georgia Domes

Welcome to From Herndon Homes to Two Georgia Domes, a digital history exhibit. This exhibit is part of an ongoing collaboration between students and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council (HWCAC), a grassroots arts and culture organization working on arts and culture initiatives that help to empower Westside residents.

The exhibit focuses on two of Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods, English Avenue and Vine City, over a hundred year period, with special attention paid to the last twenty-five years (from the early 1990’s to 2016).

The material featured includes new oral history interviews (conducted between January-August, 2015), recent and historical media, and other archival items.

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System change and community organizing: A conversation on the long arc of history with “Mother” Mamie Moore

We believe that any vision of a next system that doesn’t ultimately resonate with those working on the ground for economic and racial justice in the communities most marginalized, exploited, and oppressed by the current one is not really getting at what really needs to be next. A big part of this is listening and learning, with humility and respect, to the voices of the people who have been fighting on the frontlines—here, we asked Kate Diedrick of Solidarity Research Center to talk with Atlanta-based community organizer “Mother” Mamie Moore about her trajectory as an activist and advocate for system change starting at the neighborhood level.

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Note: this article was written by a Research|Action member when she was with the Solidarity Research Center.