Episode for April 6, 2022

Steven Greenhouse on the Labor Movement and Dr Omekongo Dibinga on Racial Justice Episode 577

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NEWS FROM Tuesday April 5 2022 

34 minutes Steven Greenhouse is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about wages and working conditions, labor organizing, and other workplace issues. Before coming to The Century Foundation, he was a reporter for the New York Times for thirty-one years, spending his last nineteen years there as its labor and workplace reporter, before retiring from the paper in December 2014. He is the author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2019.

As the New York Times’ labor and workplace reporter from 1995 to 2014, he covered myriad topics, including conditions for the nation’s farm workers, the Fight for $15, Walmart’s locking in workers at night, the New York City transit strike, factory disasters in Bangladesh, and Scott Walker’s push to cripple public employee unions.

Greenhouse joined the New York Times in September 1983 as a business reporter, covering steel and other basic industries. He then spent two-and-a-half years as the newspaper’s Midwestern business correspondent based in Chicago. In 1987, he moved to Paris, where he served as the New York Times’ European economics correspondent, covering everything from Western Europe’s economy to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. After five years in Paris, he served as a New York Times correspondent in Washington for four years, covering economics and the Federal Reserve and then the U.S. Department of State and foreign affairs.

Greenhouse’s most recent book, Beaten Down, Worked Up, looks at key historic episodes that built the nation’s labor unions and shows how unions and worker power helped build the world’s largest, richest middle class as well as a fairer, more democratic America. The book explains how the decline of worker power in recent decades has hurt workers and the nation, fueling income inequality and weakening the voice of workers in politics and policymaking.  The book also examines the future of the labor movement, looking at new forms of worker power, such as the Fight for $15, the #RedforEd teachers’ strikes, and some innovative efforts to lift Uber drivers and other gig workers.

A native of Massapequa, New York, Greenhouse is a graduate of Wesleyan University (1973), the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (1975), and NYU Law School, from which he graduated as class valedictorian in 1982.

His first book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, was published in April 2008 by Knopf. It won the 2009 Sidney Hillman Book Prize for a non-fiction book that advances social justice. Greenhouse has also been honored with the Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club award, a New York Press Club award, and a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Reporting.

He continues to freelance for, among others, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the American Prospect, the Columbia Journalism Review, AARP Magazine, and Nieman Reports.


1:05 Dr. Omékongo Dibinga is the UPstander. His life’s mission is to inspire all across the globe to take a stand when they witness an injustice, no matter how small or large. He is a motivational speaker, trilingual poet, TV talk show host, rapper, and professor of cross-cultural communication at American University. His Urban Music Award winning work has best been described by Nikki Giovanni as “outstanding, exciting, and new while being very old.” His book, From the Limbs of My Poetree was described by Essence Magazine as “a remarkable and insightful collection of exquisite poetry that touches sacred places within your spirit.” He was one of 5 international recipients out of 750,000 to win the first ever “CNN iReport Spirit Award.” He has received over 1,000,000 views on CNN.com.

Omékongo’s writings and performances have appeared in O Magazine, as well as on TV and radio from CNN, BET, and the BBC to NPR, Music Choice, and Voice of America in millions of homes in over 150 countries. He has also written songs for major motion pictures as well as organizations such as NASA and the Enough! Project. He has spoken before the United Nations, partners with the State Department to conduct youth leadership trainings overseas, and speaks to leadership and youth student conferences across the country. Omékongo’s music and writings have appeared alongside artists such as Sheryl Crow, Angelina Jolie, Norah Jones, Damien Rice, Angelique Kidjo, Don Cheadle, and Mos Def. He has shared the stage with Wyclef Jean, OutKast, Sonia Sanchez, Dennis Brutus, Emmanuelle Chriqui, The Last Poets, and NFL great Aaron Rodgers. Internationally, he has shared his work in over 20 countries on 3 continents.

Omékongo has studied at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Georgetown, Morehouse, and The Fletcher School, where he earned his M.A. in Law & Diplomacy. He earned his Ph.D. in International Education Policy at The University of Maryland (UMD) where his dissertation centered on the global hip-hop phenomenon and Jay-Z. At UMD, he also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Diverse Students Initiative.” He worked for four years as the lead Teaching Assistant to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Georgetown University. He provides leadership, educational and diversity empowerment as a consultant and motivational speaker for organizations, associations and institutions.

He has featured/lectured nationwide in venues from TEDx and Harvard to Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit and the Nuyorican Poets Café. His rap mixtape series “Bootleg” promotes positive hip-hop with remixes of songs by Tupac, Notorious BIG, Jay Z, Nas, 50 Cent, and others. His 1,000,000 Youth Campaign has directly impacted over100,000 youth across the globe to date. He has also partnered with Intel on its campaign to make their computer processors free of minerals that come from the war in the Congo.

Omékongo has published and produced 7 books, 7-fusion music and motivational CDs, and one independent DVD. His motivational book G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness! 10 Steps to Living Your Best Life has received praise from great motivational speakers such as Willie Jolley. His most recent book “The UPstander’s Guide to an Outstanding Life” is a life balance book for students. For more information, please visit www.upstanderinternational.com.

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