Cornell University

Cornell Global Labor Institute

16 East 34th Street, 4th Floor, 212-340-2840

Global Labor Institute Faculty and Staff


Sean Sweeney
is the Director and founder of the Global Labor Institute, a program of the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) based in New York City.  He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Industrial Relations from the University of Bath, England, in 1991.  Dr. Sweeney has been involved in college-level trade union and worker education since 1987 as full time faculty with Hofstra University's pioneering program with the UAW. He served as the Director of the Queens College Worker Education Extension Center from 1995-1999 before becoming Cornell's Director of Labor Studies. In recent years Dr. Sweeney has deepened and broadened Cornell ILR's work with the international labor community around economic alternatives, environmental sustainability, and climate protection. In 2007 Sweeney and the Global Labor Institute team worked with the Steelworkers and other unions to organize the North American Labor Assembly on Climate Crisis, the first major conference on unions and climate change. Sweeney and GLI then worked with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to build U.S. labor's presence at the UN's climate talks in Bali for COP 13, and he serves on the International Trade Union Confederation's climate working group. Sweeney and the Cornell GLI team also convened the Global Trade Union Task Force on Development Alternatives in 2006. He is a regular contributor to New Labor Forum and is the co-author of the UN Environment Program's 2008 report, Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World that was sponsored by the ITUC and the ILO. 

Lara Skinner, Associate Director, has worked with Cornell GLI since Fall 2008. Skinner received her PhD from the University of Oregon in 2010; her dissertation was entitled Is it Just Sustainability? The Politics of Urban Sustainability, Labor Unions and Social Justice.  She has worked for unions doing campaign research and policy development since 1999, and prior to joining GLI, was a Fellow at the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center where she did research and writing on various projects related to labor law, economic development and accountability, immigration and employment, wage surveys, sustainability, and other labor issues. At GLI, Skinner does research, writing, and labor education related to labor unions' engagement in issues of sustainability, climate protection, and economic alternatives. Her current work focuses on the potential for labor unions, both globally and domestically, to develop and advocate for transportation policy that is low-carbon, environmentally and socially sustainable, equitable and safe.

Jill Kubit, Program Manager at the Cornell Global Labor Institute and has been with the Institute since its inception in 2004. At the GLI, she currently provides ongoing technical assistance, policy development and training for the US labor movement on climate change, sustainable transportation, and green jobs. Kubit is co-author of the UNEP's report Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World and was involved in shaping the worker and community transition assistance provisions in the 2009 House of Representatives American Clean Energy and Security Act. She has been working in the field of labor education at Cornell since 2001. Prior to her work at Cornell, she worked as a public school teacher and Teach for America corps member at Garnet Patterson Middle School in Washington DC.  Kubit continues to teach through her volunteer work at Literacy Partners, a free community-based NYC adult and family literacy program, and was recently awarded the 2009 Clare R. Gregorian Volunteer of the Year award.  She holds a BA from Northwestern University.



Cornell ILR Faculty Specializing in International Labor Issues

Contact Information

16 East 34th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212.340.2840
Email: jk356@cornell.edu