People at ILR

Rachel Aleks
people / faculty

Rachel Aleks

Assistant Professor
Labor Relations, Law, and History


Rachel Aleks joined the School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Labor Relations. She earned her Ph.D. in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from the University of Toronto in 2014 and her B.Com in International Management from McGill University in 2007. Professor Aleks’ primary research is in innovative union organizing and revitalization strategies. She teaches courses on collective bargaining, the contemporary union movement, and labor relations in the hospitality industry. Prior to attending graduate school, Rachel worked as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union.

Teaching Statement

My approach to teaching is to create an environment where students are given the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills as well as to put theoretical knowledge into action by tackling real-world issues. My role as an instructor is to generate enthusiasm for the material as well as impart knowledge and support my students’ growth as engaged thinkers. My classes, therefore, include conceptual material as well as class discussions and written assignments centered around current media reports and organizational case studies.

Research Statement

My research focuses on organizing strategies used by labor unions to build power and increase membership levels among both low-wage workers and professionals. I am also interested in gender diversity within unions and how internal union policies and practices affect staff and member relations as well as organizational outcomes, such as organizing success. My research incorporates field surveys and interviews, NLRB and National Mediation Board union certification election results, as well as other government-collected administrative data.

Service Statement

One of my roles as a faculty member in the ILR School is to mentor students. As part of this role, I have worked with Career Services to develop a workshop on careers in labor that is open to students across the university interested in pursuing work in unions or other social justice organizations. I also enjoy planning activities that bring together students and practitioners to share ideas and experiences. In addition to being on the Union Days planning committee, I have also supported the Labor Roundtable. In service to my profession, I am an ad-hoc reviewer for the Industrial and Labor Relations Review and Industrial Relations.


Journal Articles

  • Rachel Aleks. 2015. Estimating the Effect of 'Change to Win' on Union Organizing, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 68(3):584-605.

Honors and Awards

  • Robert N. Stern Award for Teaching and Mentoring, ILR School. 2017
  • Hartle Award for outstanding graduate scholarship on a policy-relevant topic, Rotman Institute for International Business, University of Toronto. 2015
  • Thomas A. Kochan & Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Award, Labor and Employment Relations Association. 2015
  • Allen Ponak Best Student Paper Award, Canadian Industrial Relations Association. 2013
  • Susan C. Eaton Scholar-Practitioner Research Grant, Labor and Employment Relations Association. 2012


Ives Hall Faculty Wing, Room 365