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The Worker Institute

Advancing worker rights and collective representation


Education & Training

Cornell and ILR logos

Basic Labor Leadership Skills
Certificate Program

The Basic Labor Leadership Skills Program is designed for union members, leaders and activists. The workshops are intended to increase their ability to successfully respond to new conditions confronting organized labor.

Students learn valuable skills that are applicable in day-to-day functions. The materials combine academic and practical instruction with real-life experiences shared by a diverse group of students. Participants increase their understanding of labor unions and the legal context in which unions function; the rights and obligations of members and leaders, and future prospects for American workers in union and non-union workplaces.

Students interested in earning the Basic Labor Leadership Skills Certificate must complete the following four workshops: Steward Training, Basic Negotiations Skills for Collective Bargaining, Costing Out Contracts and Effective Communications. Students may choose from our live in‐person Buffalo Boot Camp with instructor‐led sessions and/or our customized three week online sessions with web video and discussion boards designed to actively engage users across the United States. These workshops utilize active participation, technology solutions and provide step‐by‐step details with specific examples whenever possible.

Buffalo Boot Camp

Each boot camp session will include four consecutive days with a different topic or skill set. You may take workshops individually ($199 per day) or the full 4‐day boot camp for $600. Fee includes course materials, continental breakfast, and lunch. Those who are interested in registering into all four classes to obtain the discounted price of $600 should download the 2014 Boot Camp handout and then fax back the completed registration form to the fax number indicated.

Boot Camp participants will receive the Cornell University ILR School Basic Labor Leadership Skills certificate upon completion.

Fall Boot Camp

October 7th – 10th, 2014
9:00AM – 5:00PM

Spring Boot Camp

May 12th – 15th, 2015
9:00AM – 5:00PM

On-Line Workshops

The time commitment for the on-line workshop is about 10 hours spread over a three week period.

Click on each course for all available on-line dates:


For more information about this program, contact Art Wheaton at 716.852.4191 x116 or email