Cornell University

ILR-CUNY Murphy Institute

16 E. 34th Street, NYC, 212-340-2847

Course Offerings 

We are now accepting registrations for the Spring 2012 Cornell ILR - CUNY Murphy Institute Labor Relations Program in NYC (see full class descriptions below and registration form attached). Courses begin Monday, January 30th Admission is open to all, tuition is low, and partial scholarships are still available.  If you are interested in enrolling or have questions about the program, please call our office right away (212) 642-2056.  We hope you will join us!

Labor History (Mondays)
Instructor:  Brendan Cooper

This course will examine working class life within the larger framework of U.S. history, with specific regard to class formation, industrial development, immigration, and major development of organized labor movement. Students in the course will explore the relationship of workers to unions, formal and information economics, race, gender, technology, the American state, cultural, political and social movements. Emphasis will be placed on the issues that gave birth to the labor movement, the development of working class consciousness.


Arbitration (Tuesdays)
Instructor: Josh Bienstock, Esq.

Through this course, students will develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to promote productive, efficient, and successful handling of contractual grievance.  Emphasis will be placed on the principles that arbitrators have developed and applied to resolve disputes involving provisions commonly found in contracts.  Key topics include: discipline and discharge, seniority rights, subcontracting and work preservation disputes, wage and benefit issues, and the role of past practice.  Through in-class discussions, mock exercises and readings of actual legal decisions on employment relationships, students will develop an appreciation for the process and scope of labor arbitration.


Contract Administration (Tuesdays)
Instructor: Claudia Shacter-de Chabert

The contract lies at the center of day-to-day union practices.  But how is it interpreted and enforced?  How can stewards and rank and file members ensure that the contract is honored and not circumvented?  This course explores the history of contract-based unionism, the advantages and disadvantages for unions, and alternative approaches.  This course will focus on: understanding the role of the contract within the union and the workplace, examining the collective bargaining process, effective grievance handling, understanding arbitration, and developing leadership and communication skills.


Contemporary Labor Issues (Wednesdays)
Instructor:  Ed Ott

This course will examine the social, economic, political, and organizational issues confronting the U.S. labor movement today. As an ever-changing economy and political climate impact workers and the labor movement, unions face challenges that require changes in the visionary, structural, functional, and strategic aspects of their organizations. Students will study how the external environment-globalization, shifts in the economy, employer resistance, political and legal obstacles – have shaped the current state of the union movement in general and impacted union density, economic power, and political influence in particular.


History of Public Sector Workers in America (Wednesdays- offered to DC 37)
Instructor: Gene Carroll

While often marginalized by labor historians, public sector workers and their organizations have played a vital role in the development of the state, economy and society of the United States. Today, public sector workers account for 40% of the unionized workforce in the US, outpacing the private sector by almost two-to-one.  This course will examine the history and development of labor and unions in the public sector.


Issues in Organizing (Thursdays)
Instructor: Stephanie Luce

This course examines the development of theory and practice in labor organizing as it has emerged over the course of a century.  It addresses organizing both in the public and private sector, through certification elections, recognition actions and alternative methods of organizing.  Students discuss the determinants of successful organizing campaigns, including targeting, tactics, and styles of organizing.  The subject of organizing is studied in a historical, social, and political context, allowing students to analyze the evolutions of an organizing mission and the emergence of various strategic initiatives over time.  Students review differing theories of organizing and analyze worker attitudes as well as employer strategies and tactics.  In addition, students examine the body of law that regulates labor organizing in the US and consider methods of organizing outside the parameters of existing labor law.  Students also examine union infrastructures administrative practices that affect how campaigns are financed and staffed.