On May 10, 2011, SCEPA joined with the Center for New York City Affairs to present the annual The Irene & Bernard L. Schwartz Lecture on workers' financial stability and retirement security. The event featured a speech by labor leader Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); founder, Change to Win; and fellow, Georgetown University. His talk was followed by a conversation with Catherine Rampell, editor of the Economix blog of The New York Times; Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party; and Teresa Ghilarducci, labor economist and Director of SCEPA.
Low-wage jobs with few benefits are a fact of life in our intensely competitive economy. But today, millions of Americans in low-wage positions have little financial stability and even less hope of a secure retirement. What does this mean for society, for American politics, for our economic future? Is there any hope for policy solutions that spur collaboration between labor and business, Democrats and Republicans, to create more high-quality jobs and financial security for entire generations? Or are labor and industrial policy relics of the past?
Click 'Read More' to Watch the video of the entire event.
Andy Stern is the former president of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest union of health care, hospital, nursing home, homecare, janitors, security officers, child care, food service, and state workers, and the fastest-growing union in North America. SEIU was widely credited for creating the most effective grassroots political organization, and raising the country's largest political action fund that helped elect President Barack Obama in 2008. Called a "courageous, visionary leader who charted a bold new course for American unionism," the union was recognized as the most engaged and influential advocate of healthcare reform, helping secure the historic passage of the 2010 Health Care Reform Act.
Previously as a labor leader, and today in new roles, Stern is a leading voice on major issues confronting American workers. Stern's practical solutions and 21st century ideas about restoring the American Dream are featured in his book, A Country That Works (Free Press), which offers a fresh prescription for the vital political and economic reforms America needs to get back on track. Stern continues that work as a Fellow at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, Director of AmericaWorks, a project of the Tides Foundation, and was named in 2010 as a Presidential appointee to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.