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Cornell University ILR School
Reporters and ILR experts connect hundreds of times every year to bring understandable knowledge about complex work, labor and employment issues to the public. Providing perspectives on international, national, state and regional news, our faculty's expertise is wide ranging. Unions, economics, HR, inequality, conflict resolution, disability, health and safety, labor history, workplace behavior and labor law are among our topic areas.
Founded in 1945 as the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, we are known today as the ILR School.
Key Research and Expertise Areas
- Criminal Justice Employment Initiative – improves employment opportunities for people with criminal records by designing and delivering legal employment training to close information gaps, implement best practices and integrate job seekers with criminal records into the workforce.
- Disability Employment – employer training, student transition to adulthood, U.S. disability statistics, ADA, autism in the workplace. Our Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability advances knowledge, policy and practice to enhance equal opportunities for all people with disabilities.
- Dispute Resolution – management and labor, employment contracts, corporations, negotiations, mandatory arbitration. The Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution teaches practical skills for use in the workplace and beyond.
- Diversity Equity and Inclusion – workplace issues, inequality, gender/racial bias, stereotyping and inequality. Many of our academic and outreach activities address DEI.
- Employee Relations – workplace practices, workplace culture, engagement, health care industry, innovative practices.
- Future of Work and Gig Economy – workplace technological change, organizational change, temp workers, on-demand platform workers, history of capitalism. Our Institute for Workplace Studies and Worker Institute are among ILR resources for future of work and gig economy expertise.
- Human Resources – employment policies, benefits, training, motivation, creativity, job creation, turnover, performance, well-being, entrepreneurship, star employees, virtual work, leadership, layoffs, talent, HR strategy, analytics, leadership, job quality, career building, absenteeism, strategy. The Cornell Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies focuses on research and best practices.
- Immigration – immigrant worker rights, DACA, immigration and workplace law at the subfederal, federal and International levels, effects of temporary immigration status and worker legal mobilization.
- International Economic Policy – global labor markets, human rights, state-labor relations in China, China urbanization, labor standards in global supply chains.
- Labor – organized labor, labor law, collective bargaining, private/public sector unions, union leadership, labor history, labor relations, NLRB, low-wage work, green jobs, labor contracts, gendered workplace, migrants’ social movements, call centers, health and safety. The Worker Institute addresses many aspects of labor.
- Labor Economics – labor market analysis, pay trends, wages, gender wage gap, wage inequality, economic history.
- Labor Law – labor rights, employment law, ethical governance of workplace technologies and employment discrimination. Our Labor and Employment Law Program merges law and social science research to provide perspectives.
- Workplace Analytics and Big Data – staffing, algorithms, Bayesian statistics, statistical theory, methods and analysis, health care industry. ILR is home to the Labor Dynamics Institute.
- Workplace Behavior – creativity, influence, psychological entitlement, culture, consent, substance abuse, leadership, organizational change, group dynamics, health and safety.
- Workplace Sexual Harassment – economic consequences of sexual assault and harassment, statistics, prevention education.
- How to beat burnout in the New Year
December 10, 2021
As we look to the New Year and a “new normal” version of work-life balance, many people are looking for ways to rest and reset. Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior, says there are ways – starting with intentional rest and recovery – to recalibrate after nearly two years of a pandemic-induced, always-on work mindset.
- Brewing workplace democracy: Starbucks union vote major moment for labor activism
December 8, 2021
On Thursday, votes from Starbucks workers at three stores in and around Buffalo, New York on whether to unionize will be tallied. If they vote to organize, it will establish the first-ever unionized locations of the chain’s thousands of U.S. stores. Cathy Creighton, director of ILR’s Buffalo Co-Lab, previously worked for the National Labor Relations Board as well as with dozens of labor unions in the Buffalo region. She says the Starbucks campaign is a prime example of how U.S. labor law is designed to put business ahead of workers’ requests to organize. She recently wrote an op-ed on the efforts to unionize at the Buffalo, New York Starbucks locations.
- NYC vaccine mandate likely to avoid legal challenges
December 8, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that all private sector employers in New York City will be required to implement a vaccine mandate by Dec. 27, effectively requiring any person working in the city to be vaccinated. The move comes as President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors was blocked by a federal judge in Georgia. Risa Lieberwitz is a professor of labor and employment law and academic director of the Worker Institute.
- Biden green goals attainable, but electric vehicle purchasing moves ‘at glacial pace
December 8, 2021
President Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050. The administration is committing to boost purchasing of electric vehicles for its federal fleet, to retrofit federal buildings and to switch to renewable energy sources for its electricity. Arthur Wheaton, an expert on the automotive industry, says this commitment is attainable, but that political hurdles could remain a challenge, and that federal purchasing of electric vehicles is moving “at a glacial pace.”
- Omicron variant may delay return to in-person work
November 29, 2021
Nations around the world are trying to keep the new omicron variant at bay. Among other strategies, officials recommend following established best practices, including measures to reduce density in certain spaces. Bradford S. Bell, professor in strategic human resources and director of ILR’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, says employers may walk back plans for workers to return to the office as concern over the omicron variant grows.
- Migration treaty violations, trade central to U.S.-Mexico-Canada summit
November 18, 2021
President Joe Biden will meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House this week to discuss the continued flow of migrants over the U.S.-Mexico border, trade, labor and other issues. Shannon Gleeson, professor of labor relations, law and history, studies how U.S. policies impact immigrant workers. She is also a signatory to a letter urging President Biden to create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as part of economic and infrastructure packages.
- End of 2021 will see more supply chain issues, food insecurity
November 17, 2021
The global supply chain has been put under extreme stress throughout the pandemic causing major disruptions for businesses and consumers as we enter a busy season for businesses in all industries. Art Wheaton is a workplace and industry education specialist and specializes in the auto and aerospace industries.
- Confusion, frustration await foreign travelers to US
November 8, 2021
As the U.S. reopens international borders to foreign travelers, airlines are bracing for congestion as the new rules are rolled out – this in addition to staffing issues that have caused operation complications for some carriers recently. Arthur Wheaton, an expert in airline industries, says the new requirements to travel internationally will bring frustration for travelers and an increased likelihood of conflict and confrontation.
- Starbucks has ‘reason to be worried’ ahead of union vote
November 8, 2021
Starting Wednesday, workers at three Starbucks coffee shops in and around Buffalo, New York will have four weeks to vote on whether to unionize. If they vote to organize, they will form the first-ever Starbucks union in the United States. Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research, is an expert on union and employer strategies in organizing and bargaining in the global economy. She says Starbucks has reason to be worried with Workers United leading the unionizing efforts.
- Cornell labor experts on strikes surging across the US
November 4, 2021
Thousands of U.S. workers across numerous industries have participated in strikes and other labor actions this fall. The Cornell-ILR Labor Action Tracker provides a comprehensive database of strike and labor protest activity across the U.S. and these Cornell experts are available to speak to the increasing labor protest activity.
- Fed tapering could spur investment, increase labor demand
November 4, 2021
On Nov. 3, the Federal Reserve announced it would begin reducing the pace of its monthly bond purchases, a step toward more normal monetary policy. Erica Groshen says tapering should raise long-term interest rates and that could increase demand for labor.
- John Deere management ‘overestimated power’ in union negotiations
November 3, 2021
Workers at Deere & Company have rejected a contract proposal negotiated by their union for the second time, further extending their strike. Professor Harry Katz says workers have more bargaining power now and management at Deere have overestimated their power in the negotiations.
- Unions have ‘role to play’ in enforcement of Biden’s vaccine mandate
November 2, 2021
The Biden administration’s mandate that federal contract workers and workers at private-sector businesses be vaccinated against Covid-19 has stirred protests across the country. Patricia Campos-Medina says while labor unions play a role in negotiating what the consequences are for non-compliance with the mandate, unions members who oppose the mandate for political considerations may have to make the hard choice between their job and personal beliefs.
- Unvaccinated NYC firefighters put public at risk
November 1, 2021
Enforcement of New York City’s vaccine mandate for uniformed service providers begins today. Lee Adler says the city’s uniformed service providers are potentially risking reputational damage and the high number of unvaccinated firefighters will likely result in service limitations.
- Staten Island Amazon union filings shows 'lack of experience'
October 26, 2021
Amazon workers at four warehouses on Staten Island have filed a petition to form a union. Kate Bronfenbrenner says filing with only 30 percent of workers shows a lack of experience and likely won’t bode well for the campaign.
- Expert list: Biden readies wind for long-term growth
October 14, 2021
Lara Skinner is the director of the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative and an expert on labor and employment issues related to sustainability, climate protection and clean energy. Skinner can comment on job creation that will emerge as a result of prioritizing wind development — both in the construction phase as well as through longer term manufacturing facilities.
- Alaska pollock customs dispute exposes US trade system flaws
October 12, 2021
A customs dispute at the U.S.-Canada border is threatening America’s supply of Alaska pollock – the key fish used for fish sticks and fast-food sandwiches – and raising concerns of permanent disruptions to the seafood supply chain. Desirée LeClercq is an expert on labor provisions in trade agreements. She says the recent dispute exposes flaws in our trading system including outdated legislation meant to protect U.S. ship owners and operators.
- Southwest disruptions mirror global supply chain issues,
October 12, 2021
Over the long weekend, Southwest Airlines cancelled over 2,000 flights, causing major disruptions to travel plans for thousands of passengers. Arthur Wheaton, an expert in airline industries, says while the problems at Southwest Airlines mirror the supply chain issues facing the globe, they have not handled the situation very well, reducing consumer trust.
- Vaccine mandate may usher in unpredictable staffing shortages
September 29, 2021
Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that the statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect today. Ariel Avgar is an associate professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and associate director with the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution. His research focuses on the impact of conflict on employees and employers.
- NYC delivery workers laws just ‘the floor’ of what’s needed
September 23, 2021
Today, the New York City Council is likely to pass a package of legislation that will set minimum pay and improve working conditions for app-based delivery workers. Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says the protections expected to be approved today are needed, but much more must be done.
- Healthcare worker vaccine mandate may jumpstart local efforts
September 22, 2021
Adam Seth Litwin, says because frontline caregivers are in such high demand, the healthcare sector may need to rely on prevention instead of treatment.
- Foreign visitors ‘critical to survival’ of US hospitality industry
September 22, 2021
The U.S. will start easing travel restrictions for international visitors who are vaccinated against Covid-19 in November. Chekitan Dev and Ian Greer weigh in on how the loosened restrictions will impact to the tourism industry in the U.S. as well as what foreign travelers may encounter upon arrival.
- Amazon starting pay increase good for workers, comes with ‘big challenges’
September 14, 2021
Amazon recently announced an increase in the average starting wage for their workers to $18 per hour. The following Cornell University experts weigh in on what this change will mean for workers, managers and the broader industry. Diane Burton, human resources professor and director of the Institute for Compensation Studies, says while raising wages is great for employees it can cause challenges for managers including how to pay for the wage increase and how to handle morale issues from wage compression. Tae Youn Park, human resources associate professor, says although higher wages are better, many workers are looking for more in a compensation package including flexible schedules, childcare or education tuition support, and paid leave opportunities.
- Infrastructure plan needs training, long-term assurance of jobs
September 9, 2021
As President Biden continues to promote his infrastructure bill, concerns are rising as the U.S. faces a shortage of skilled workers to fill the positions needed in construction, transportation and energy. Art Wheaton, workplace and industry education specialist at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations says as long as there are long-term assurances of jobs, training and apprenticeship programs will aid in filling those positions.
- How to effectively ask a colleague to mask up at work
September 1, 2021
Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University’s ILR School, offers the following suggestions for how to make–the potentially tricky–request more effective.
- Student face masks add layer of protection as school year begins
- Labor Day 2021: How COVID-19 transformed work
August 27, 2021
A host of Cornell University labor experts are available to weigh in on the increased focus on workplace safety, gig economy growth, unemployment and employee shortages, climate jobs, social justice at work and more.
- Uber, UK union deal may have global ramifications of labor rights
May 27, 2021
Maria Figueroa, director of labor and policy research at Cornell University’s Worker Institute, says this development in the U.K could have global influence on labor law reforms that benefit gig workers.
- Labor disputes take center stage as US, Mexico and Canada talk trade
May 14, 2021
Desirée LeClercq, is a professor of employment law and an expert on labor provisions in trade agreements. She spent seven years at the ILO, where she advised various governments and the EU on how to draft and implement their trade agreements’ labor chapters.
- Biden's EV pitch gives auto industry a vital boost to all-electric goal
May 14, 2021
Art Wheaton, an expert on the automotive industry at ILR, says car companies alone can’t achieve all-electric fleets in the next two decades without federal investment.
- McDonald's anti-harassment training could lead to backlash
April 14, 2021
Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, studies social influence and the psychology of compliance and consent. She says that sexual harassment training by McDonald's must be combined with other initiatives to be effective.
- With semiconductor shortage, Biden faces 'billions in manufacturing stoppages'
April 12, 2021
Arthur Wheaton, an expert on the automotive industry at the ILR School, says demand for semiconductor chips among automakers is only going to increase as more electric vehicles are introduced into fleets, and that it may lead to “billions in manufacturing stoppages.”
- Target's commitment to Black-owned business reflects GenZ expectations
April 9, 2021
Tony Byers, diversity and inclusion programs director at the ILR School, says of Target's commitment to Black-owned businesses that GenZ "seemingly have higher expectations for corporate commitment to social, economic, and environmental change."
- March jobs report to show New York recovery lags behind
April 1, 2021
Russell Weaver, economic geographer and director of research at the Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, says while the March jobs report is poised to show continued signs of economic recovery, New York state is still lagging behind the rest of the nation.
- Biden's offshore wind goals 'exactly what US needs'
March 30, 2021
Lara Skinner is the director of the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative and an expert on labor and employment issues related to sustainability, climate protection and clean energy. She says the Biden administration’s goal to build a large offshore wind industry demonstrates his commitment to tackling climate change and creating high-quality jobs for Americans.
- TikTok anti-bullying efforts will drive behavior change
March 10, 2021
Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior Cornell University’s ILR School, says TikTok’s efforts should have a positive impact on improving the online community.
- In embracing hybrid work, Salesforce sees clear cost savings
February 10, 2021
Salesforce, a leading cloud-based software company based in San Francisco, announced this week that it would allow its employees to “work remotely part or full time after the pandemic.” Bradford S. Bell says that Salesforce is not alone in suggesting hybrid work arrangements in the long term. He adds that such decisions carry important cost-saving and other benefits for companies with a significant real estate footprint, like Salesforce.
- Bitter economics, lofty promises underpin farmers protests in India
December 2, 2020
Protests are spreading in India, where farmers are rallying against new agricultural laws that they say will undermine their livelihood and benefit big corporations. Sarah Besky, associate professor in the ILR School at Cornell University, studies labor relations with an emphasis on farming and the tea industry in India. She is available for interviews about the economic dynamics underlying the current protests.
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