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Update the social contract to protect all workers



social contract to protect all workers

A more human-centered approach to work could create a more equitable world, according to a wide range of experts who gathered at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ new Manhattan hub Jan. 31 to discuss the “Work for a Brighter Future” landmark report recently published by the International Labour Organization.

A dramatic shift in the global workplace, where technology is both eliminating and creating jobs, must be met with decisive action by governments, employers and worker organizations in order to create a social contract that includes all workers, even the most vulnerable, the report said.
Work that guarantees economic security and opportunities for all is achievable, but requires collaboration among government, business and education, according to many of the panelists, who addressed around 100 people in ILR’s new New York City headquarters at 570 Lexington Ave.

A human-centered agenda for work’s future, according to the report, would revolve around increasing investment in areas such as lifelong learning, gender equality, the rural economy, living wages, worker safety, collective representation, management of technology for decent work and a social protection system supporting people over the course of their lives.

The launch event continues a decades-long relationship between ILR and the International Labour Organization, which is celebrating its 100th year with the report.

ILR Interim Dean Alex Colvin said the post-World War II social contract between employers and workers has been fundamentally disrupted in the past two decades. But the report offers hope that investment in worker capabilities and the creation of new institutions could advance an agenda of social justice, he said.

Richard Samans, World Economic Forum managing director, said the report embraces an inclusive model of economic growth while offering a practical rendering of what that would look like. The report lays out a framework to upgrade the social contract through improved access to education and other resources.

Placing people at the center of economic policy would be a startling departure from the current model, Samans said. “The world needs a new engine of growth and development. Investing in people can provide it,” he said.

Damian Grimshaw, director of the International Labour Organization Research Department, pointed to the importance of the informal economy, which includes workers such as street vendors, home care workers and Uber drivers, in both developed and undeveloped countries.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Diana Florence spoke about reckless behavior by construction contractors that dissolves the social contract and results in worker injuries.

Diane Burton, associate professor of human resources in the ILR School and an entrepreneurship scholar, said policymakers should look to cities and states as sources of experimental policies aimed at creating an improved future for work.

Panelists also represented the Ford Foundation, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the National Taxi Workers Alliance, Barclays Capital, Global MindED, The World Bank, the AFL-CIO, Fordham University and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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