Center for Labor, Community, and Policy Studies

Center for Labor, Community, and Policy Studies

The Center for Labor, Community, and Policy Studies brings together academics, public intellectuals, policy makers, journalists, artists and union and community leaders and activists to examine:

  • Policy and political developments as they affect working people
  • The domestic and global economy and labor markets
  • The full range of issues that bear on the social and cultural life of workers and working-class communities. 

The Center:

  • Publishes New Labor Forum, an award-winning national journal
  • Organizes a year-long series of public programming
  • Provides workshops and training promoting civic engagement and leadership development
  • Conducts research

New Labor Forum

New Labor Forum is a national labor journal from the Murphy Institute and the City University of New York. Published by SAGE Press and appearing 3 times a year,

New Labor Forum provides a place for labor and its allies to consider vital research, debate strategy, and test new ideas.

Issues we explore include:

  • The global economy’s impact on poor and working-class communities
  • New union organizing and political strategies
  • Alternative economic and social policies
  • Labor’s new constituencies and their relationship to organized labor’s traditional institutions
  • The role of culture in working-class social movements.

Endorsements for the New Labor Forum

“I am encouraged by the emergence of New Labor Forum. Our nation is in need of a revitalized labor movement, drawing on the rich history of workers’ struggles. A journal tat encourages bold new ideas about the role of labor in society is a valuable spur to labor organizing and to the larger challenge of transforming our society”
Howard Zinn

New Labor Forum is one of the most thoughtful and provocative publications on workers, organized labor, and the struggle for social justice. I urge anyone concerned about these issues to subscribe today.”
Cornel West, Princeton University

“The work of New Labor Forum is vitally important to the cause of organized labor. It provides an invaluable space for uninhibited and well-informed debate. It is required reading for anyone who is concerned with issues of work and workers.”
Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Vice President of the governing Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO

New Labor Forum is a rarity – a journal that frankly addresses a critical social issue in a language accessible to those inside and outside the academy. It is required reading for anyone who believes that the future of political and social democracy rests in a large measure on the revitalization of the labor movement.”
Eric Foner, Columbia University

“A strong labor movement is crucial to a democratic society. New Labor Forum hosts the discussion, debate, new ideas and even the poetry essential to a revitalized labor movement.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation

“The unremitting attack against unions since World War II has been an assault against the threat of democracy, and it must be beaten back if there are to be prospects for a more just and free society. New Labor Forum is in the forefront of these efforts, which are of vital importance.”
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“This is a critical time, as we work for a future that includes a meaningful role for working Americans and their organizations in the midst of a nearly unified management effort to eliminate collective bargaining. The commitment of New Labor Forum to thoughtful debate, the exploration of new approaches, and analysis based on information rather than rhetoric is vital to our efforts.”
Larry Cohen, former president of CWA and founder of Making Progressive Politics Work

Public Programs

The Murphy Institute offers an ambitious array of public events throughout the year. These include panels, forums, and conferences that feature prominent scholars and public intellectuals, union and community-based leaders and activists, policy makers, journalists, and artists.

Our public events are designed to stimulate debate and strategic thinking about the challenges and possibilities confronting working-class people and communities.

The Center's forums and conferences annually attract over 1,500 of participants from across the country and around the world. Over the years, speakers have included Nobel laureates, elected officials, foreign ministers, and leaders of international labor organizations, as well as distinguished scholars, and civil rights leaders.

Civic Engagement Workshops and Training

The Center offers a broad range of workshops and training to bolster leadership development and civic participation among union members and working-class communities.

In the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision, the voice of poor and working-class Americans has been muted by the outsized political influence of corporate power in our political system.

While 68 percent of voters nationally agree that raising wages is good for workers and the economy, and the majority of people want rights at work, the ability to stay home if they’re sick, affordable housing, decent schools, safe neighborhoods, and a sustainable environment, corporate lobbying for “free” trade, regressive taxation, and unrestrained profit-making subsumes the policy priorities of average Americans.

Organized labor, community-based organizations, and social movements are endeavoring to respond to this sea change in the alignment of political power in the U.S. The Murphy Institute seeks to inform and support these efforts to ensure that poor and working-class voices are heard. 

Institute Workshop offerings in bolster leadership development and civic participation include:

  • Democracy and Power in the City, State & Nation
  • Policymaking: Structures, Processes, Procedures, Parties, Players and Pressure Points
  • Campaign Organization and Campaign Strategy: Keys to Success
  • Federal, State and City Election Law
  • Campaign Finance and Ethics
  • Petitioning: First Step in Running for Public Office
  • Messaging: The Key to Winning Voter Support
  • Public Speaking
  • How Campaigns and Elections Set the Policy Agenda
  • Advocating Policy Issues Before, During and After Elections
  • Building an Ongoing Policy Constituency
  • Participating in Governance
  • How Priorities Get Funding
  • Participatory Budgeting


Institute’s faculty members conduct research on a broad range of Labor and Urban issues. The Institute also publishes The State of the Unions, an annual profile of organized labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States. The report, authored by Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, is released every labor day and is published in collaboration with CUNY’s Center for Urban Research.