Cornell University

Online Credit Courses

The Cornell ILR Online Labor Studies Program provides busy union activists with an opportunity to take college credit courses without regard to their location or work schedules.  While there is no physical classroom there is considerable student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction, making for lively discussions and group learning.

Courses advance students’ knowledge about the issues that matter most to their day-to-day roles and include Collective Bargaining, Labor History, and Labor/Employment Law, Contemporary Labor Issues, and Contract Administration.

Participants can earn a Certificate (and an Advanced Certificate) of Labor Studies to those who complete the requirements.


A Certificate of Labor Studies can be earned by successfully completing one 3.0 credit course in each of the core areas:

  • Law (Labor Law, Employment Law, or Labor Relations in the Public Sector)
  • History (Labor History or Labor & Film)
  • Bargaining (Collective Bargaining)

and three electives:

  • Labor, Government & Politics
  • Contract Administration
  • Unions and Diversity
  • Or any of the other courses we offer in the program.

Additionally, an Advanced Certificate of Labor Studies will be awarded to those who complete an additional four 3.0 credit courses offered in the program in any subject area.Each course carries 3 undergraduate college credits.

Our on-line credit classes are structured so that you will not be expected to log-on at any particular time or day.  We simply ask that you keep up with the discussion boards and assignments.  The system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

PRICE: Each online credit course is $595.00

To register on-line, click on the course name below or you can contact Alice Torres at or call her at 585-262-4440. You can also download the registration form and fax it to 212-340-2890.

Please view our flyer (PDF) for the course descriptions for the 2013-14 Semesters.

Fall 2013 - Begins the week of September 23  – ends the week of December 9, 2013

Private Sector Labor Law  (LS254)    HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Instructor: Robert McCarthy, Esq.

This course surveys the major areas of the law as it applies to workers and unions in the private sector. It focuses on the right to organize and the ground rules for collective bargaining and strikes. Students will concentrate on major provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, examining how the NLRB and the Federal Courts have interpreted the national labor laws.

Building Effective Unions: Motivating and Organizing Union Members (LS240)   Register Now

Instructor: Patrick Domaratz

In this course students will examine the history of workers' efforts to form and join unions and the development of the legal framework within which contemporary organizing typically occurs.  New methods of organizing that consider the political, social, and economic environments will be explored along with the various factors that influence workers' willingness to join unions.  Of great interest will be discussions about how unions can "unionize" their members so that they become willing participants in the mobilization of other workers to recognize and support the values of the labor movement.

Winter 2014 - Begins the week of January 6, 2014  - ends the week of March 17, 2014

Public Sector Labor Relations (LS238)   Register Now

Instructor: Jack Moody

This course is designed to acquaint labor relations professionals, union members, union stewards and officers with a basic understanding of public sector labor relations. Upon completion of the course students will understand the legal rights and obligations of public sector employers, employees and employee organizations; the public sector collective bargaining process including the role of politics, economic and non-economic issues, and the administration of contractual grievance processes; and issues relating to contemporary public sector labor relations. A multi-state/locality approach will be utilized.

Contemporary Labor Issues (LS264)   Register Now

Instructor: TBD

The focus of this course is two-fold: on the one hand, to discuss the revitalization of the labor movement and, on the other, to examine the context in which this revitalization must occur.  Among the subjects to be covered are the changing nature of work, workers, and workplaces; the state of American unions and union members; the globalization of business and labor; tensions between private sector and public sector.

Spring 2014 - Begins the week of March 31, 2014  - ends the week of June 9, 2014

Collective Bargaining (LS200)   Register Now

Instructor: Pat Domaratz

This course examines the principles of contract bargaining including bargaining environments and structures as well as standards used in negotiations. Students will learn to prepare bargaining demands, cost economic items, draft non-economic language, negotiate economic and non-economic issues, and resolve a bargaining impasse. Discussion will consider the impact of bargaining outcomes on workers, unions, employers, and the public.

Labor History (LS255)   Register Now

Instructor: Alex Blair

Labor History can be understood from the perspectives of both trade union history and the social, cultural, and political life of workers. To gain insights into labor's past, it is useful to explore not only union organizing, collective bargaining, and labor legislation  but also what workers think, how they work and live, and the impact of workers on the larger society. This course will use both of these approaches in order to examine the major themes in American labor history from the 19th century to the present day.

What People are Saying about On-Line Labor Studies:

Alphonso Cyrus Alphonso Cyrus, Shop Steward
Teamsters Local 804, Brooklyn, NY

"As we move toward exiting from this current economic crisis, it is necessary that union representatives be educated in the ever-changing labor field. Taking classes online with Cornell ILR has given me the flexibility needed to further my education with my unpredictable work schedule. The instructors are well-educated in the field of labor studies and offer a broad non-biased view of past, present and future events."
 Ed Starr Ed Starr, Esq., Business Manager
IBEW Local 2321, North Andover, MA

"Cornell University's ILR On-Line Labor Studies Program has enhanced my skills and understanding of the labor movement and provided me with the skills necessary to be proactive in helping not only my union membership but organized labor as a whole."
Edward Ceccato Edward A. Ceccato, Executive Vice President
Niagara Falls Teachers, Niagara Falls, NY

"The major advantage of the on-line courses is that the work can be done at your convenience. So even though my job as a teacher, my family, and my positions as an officer in my local union and activist in my state union require a great deal of time and commitment, the on-line courses allow me the flexibilty to participate in the class whenever I had time to do so."
 Phil Knoerzer Philip M. Knoerzer, Empire State Carpenters
Buffalo/Niagara, Local 289, Cheektowaga, NY

"My experience so far with ILR's On-Line Labor Studies Program has been incredibly rewarding and enlightening. I'll have plenty to read for a long time."