Background and Previous Experience
Sean O’Brady finished his doctoral dissertation on collective bargaining and economic insecurity with the University of Montreal’s School of Industrial Relations. His thesis examined how employers and unions negotiate wages, scheduling arrangements, and employee benefits in food retail across four countries (Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the United States). While his doctoral research centered on economic insecurity, his broader research focus is on how labor relations, human resource management practices, and institutions affect various aspects of job quality in low-wage, low-skilled service sectors. In addition to his doctoral work, Sean holds a Master’s in Public Administration (Carleton University) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Concordia University).
Sean’s research has led to many awards, including the Canadian Industrial Relations Association's Allen Ponak Best Student Paper Award and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux’s Marcel Pepin Scholarship in Quebec. His doctoral research was conducted in affiliation with the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work in Montreal, Canada (2013-2018) and through a research stay with the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels, Belgium (2015). In addition to research, Sean has experience in teaching collective bargaining at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Montreal.
Current Research at ILR
Through postdoctoral research with Cornell’s ILR School, Sean intends to conduct research on labor relations and job quality in low-skilled service work. In collaboration with Virginia Doellgast, his supervisor, one project entails a quantitative analysis of the factors affecting job quality in American telecommunications firms. He will also engage in comparative research on job quality in food retail. Funded by the Québec Social Sciences and Humanities fund (FRQ-SC), this project will examine how supermarkets in Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the United States have experimented with different forms of work organization, as well as the impacts of union strategies and institutions, to explain divergent work outcomes within and across countries.