November 1 2007
Dean Katz Presents in Seoul
Harry C. Katz, Kenneth Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor of the ILR School, was an invited speaker at the annual Global Human Resources Forum in Seoul, Korea, October 24-25. This international event was sponsored by the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (KRVET), a government funded organization that coordinates vocational training throughout Korea. Former President Bill Clinton opened the conference by video, speaking to a largely Korean audience representing academic, business, and government policy institutions. Richard Holbrook, former assistant secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, followed Clinton. Cornell alumnus Francis Fukuyama (’74), author of End of History and Trust, also presented.
Katz’s paper, “The Role of National Level Labor-Management-Government Dialogue in the Midst of Increasingly Decentralized Collective Bargaining,” addressed the role of social partnerships in promoting economic development in Korea. In it, Katz assesses the degree to which tripartite forums have emerged within advanced industrial economies in recent years, the factors that facilitate modern tripartism, and the implications of tripartism for economic and social outcomes. He drew from recent updates to his 2004 book, The New Structure of Labor Relations (Cornell University Press), written with Won-Duck Lee (current president of KRVET) and Joo-Hee Lee. Joining Dean Katz in presenting was Thomas Kochan of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.
While in Seoul, Katz gave several invited lectures, including one to some 50 professional staff at the Ministry of Labor where he spoke about collective bargaining in the U.S. and organizing efforts in the face of declining membership. He also shared observations on General Motors’ landmark agreement with the United Automobile Workers and the role of voluntary employee beneficiary associations, or VEBAs. The visit also included talks at the Korea Labor Institute (KLI), SK Group, and LG Electronics where he presented on global HR and industrial relations trends and issues. Katz was also a dinner guest of ILR’s very active alumni association in Seoul.
The visit was capped by joining a Cornell delegation led by President David Skorton at Seoul’s traditional Shilla Hotel where the Cornell Club of Korea announced creation of a scholarship fund that will allow a deserving Korean student to attend Cornell.