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News

October 18 2004

ILR in Dublin : Gateway to a European Workplace Network

Sean Sweeney on EIRO panel

By Stuart Basefsky

On October 18-19, 2004, Sean Sweeney and Stuart Basefsky represented the ILR School, ILR  International Programs, and the USA at a special, annual seminar entitled Industrial Relations in the EU, Japan and USA sponsored by the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO).  EIRO is a special project funded by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Dublin Foundation) in Dublin, Ireland.

These titles are descriptive of the ILR  School's new institutional partner - the Dublin Foundation - and its projects, workshops, seminars, and more. The seminar comparing the EU, Japan, and the USA is, for example, the first of several relationships that the ILR School hopes to develop in furthering a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which includes:

  • student internships
  • faculty and researcher exchanges
  • continuing the current annual seminar
  • seeking mutually beneficial relations for research, study, and training
  • publicizing and monitoring the intellectual content of both institutions

This seminar requires Sean and Stuart to collaborate in writing a report (example from 2002) that provides an overview of recent industrial relations developments in the U.S. The report is then placed in a comparative perspective with Japan and the EU for study, analysis, and discussion. The purpose of this project is to provide insights for policy-makers in the European Union regarding the development of employer/employee relations in a national and global context. The work produced is paid for by the Dublin Foundation to ILR Extension.

Apparently, the European Union is pleased with the work done by Cornell since Sean and Stuart are invited to do a similar project next year.

What actually takes place at this seminar?

Every year there are some core topics that need to be updated with data, examples, and trends. These include, but are not limited to – economic, political, and legislative developments, collective bargaining, union density, pay levels, women workers, negotiated wage increases, benefits, and industrial actions (strikes). However, each year there is a focus on special issues. For example, this year two parallel workshops were held on migration and aging workers.

Every year there are some core topics that need to be updated with data, examples, and trends. These include, but are not limited to – economic, political, and legislative developments, collective bargaining, union density, pay levels, women workers, negotiated wage increases, benefits, and industrial actions (strikes). However, each year there is a focus on special issues. For example, this year two parallel workshops were held on migration and aging workers.

When presenting the information, Sean and Stuart make special efforts to point to the true expertise on many of these issues that rests with our Resident and Extension Faculties at ILR. For example, Stuart brought several reports and studies produced by Prof. Robert Hutchens on the issue of phased-retirement for the workshop on aging workers. Sean often refers to current work and studies being done by Professors Harry Katz, Rosemary Batt, Lowell Turner, Ronald Appelgate, and others when appropriate or to the active engagement of these issues among our ILR Extension Faculty such as by Lee Adler, Francine Moccio, Peter Lazes, Kate Bronfenbrenner and others.

To help European researchers and policy-makers become aware of key U.S. resources, Stuart created a special Web site entitled “Industrial Relations Overview of the U.S.” as a Catherwood Library Subject Guide.

Networking in Dublin

This European Agency in Dublin is ideal for developing research, study, and training networks for the ILR School. It is where top faculty, labor leaders, government policy-makers, and employer representatives from 25 Member States of the European Union congregate to discuss workplace issues. This seminar is the first of many projects that the ILR School hopes to grow with this relationship.

For a better understanding of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, see:

And for the key personalities, see:

Industrial Relations Team which includes Stavroula Demetriades, David Foden, Isabella Biletta, and Christian Welz among others.

The Foundation's offices are centered around the 17th century Loughlinstown House in Dublin, Ireland.