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The Worker Institute

Advancing worker rights and collective representation


Education & Training

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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, Labor/Employment Law, Contemporary Labor Issues and Contract Administration.

Participants can earn a Certificate and an Advanced Certificate of Labor Studies.

Adjunct faculty are proud members of the Cornell Adjunct Faculty Alliance, NYSUT, AFT, AFL-CIO.  Courses and credits earned in Extension Division programs are not automatically accepted as transfer credits or as a basis of admission to the resident Cornell-ILR programs in Ithaca.  Student applications and course transfers are evaluated by the ILR School on an individual basis.


A Certificate of Labor Studies can be earned by successfully completing six 3.0 credit course in the following areas

  • Law (Labor Law, Employment Law, or Labor Relations in the Public Sector)- one course
  • History (Labor History or Labor & Film)- one course
  • Bargaining (Collective Bargaining)- one course
  • Electives (Labor, Government and Politics, Contract Administration, Unions and Diversity, and others)- 3 courses

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 can log-on at any particular time or day throughout the week.The system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Each online credit course is $625.00

To register on-line, click on the course name below or contact Alice Torres at or 585-262-4440. You can also download the registration form and fax it to 585-262-3715.

Fall 2014

Begins the week of September 22 – ends the week of December 1, 2014

Internal Union Conflict
Values and Ethics in Unions 

Winter 2015

Begins the week of January 5 – ends the week of March 16, 2015

Employment Law
Contract Administration


LS116 - Ethics in the Workplace

Register Online!

Values and Ethics in the Union

Ethical dilemmas inevitably arise in the process of providing leadership. The causes of ethical tensions within unions and in the larger labor movement will be explored in this course through readings about democracy, ethical theory, union history and structure, and organizational values. Using case studies, group debates, and class discussions, students will examine the opportunities and dilemmas facing unions as they undergo internal change and revitalization. Different approaches to ethical decision-making will be evaluated to identify the values that guide students' own union work and to develop and practice new processes that will reinforce the integrity of your union.

Instructor: Susan F. Alevas, Esq.

LS248 - Employment Law

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In this course students will examine both federal and state laws governing public and private sector workplaces and will use examples from a number of industries such as manufacturing and construction. Among the laws to be studied are those protecting workers from discriminatory practices, that regulate wages and hours of work, that provide for job safety and health, and that afford benefits to workers who are disabled or unemployed. The focus will be on the practical application of laws and their impact on the workplace and American society.

Instructor: Harry Bronson

LS253 - Contract Administration

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The contract lies at the center of day-to-day union practice. The interpretation and enforcement of contract language depends on the union representative. How can union leaders, stewards, and rank and file members ensure that the contract is honored and not circumvented? This course explores issues that union reps experience on an everyday basis. Students will discuss how to resolve problems that are contract-based by effectively utilizing grievance procedures. Additionally, class participants will learn how to creatively harness the energy of union members themselves to build the local union and address problems that might arise in the workplace.

Instructor: John Moody

LS256 - Resolving Internal Union Conflict

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Conflict resolution is an everyday challenge for union leaders and activists in the workplace and within the union, where relationships matter. Knowing how to respond effectively is an essential skill for those who seek to influence outcomes. This course will explore conflict resolution as a mechanism for positive change and relationship building. The focus will be primarily at the interpersonal and group level, such as disputes that arise when dealing with another union member, between leaders and members, between diverse constituency groups within the local. We will consider the application of these ideas in the collective bargaining and contract administration arenas. The course will be interactive, using case study simulations and online activities to explore the substantive and relational aspects of resolving conflict.

Instructor: Susan Woods