Introduction to Collective Bargaining (LS200)

This 3.0 credit online course requires 3 hours per week of participation.


This course examines the principles of contract bargaining including bargaining environments and structures as well as standards used in negotiations. Students will learn to prepare bargaining demands, cost economic items, draft non-economic language, negotiate economic and non-economic issues, and resolve a bargaining impasse. Discussion will consider the impact of bargaining outcomes on workers, unions, employers, and the public.


Key Topics:

  • Introduction to Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations
  • Sources and Determinants of Bargaining Power
  • Management Strategies and Structures for Collective Bargaining
  • Union Organizing
  • Participation Processes
  • Strikes
  • Negotiations Process with Mock Bargaining
  • Grievance Procedure and Economic Impact of Collective Bargaining

Approach and Features include mock bargaining and role plays to help understand the dynamics of collective bargaining. The asynchronous format means you never have to be online at a specific time or day of the week. The course is set up in weekly modules based on subjects and chapters from the Katz, Kochan and Colvin textbook. The chapters help provide structure for the conversation and participation by students. Each student will take the lead on a specific chapter (of their choice) of the text and provide some questions for the class to consider each week. The text is used as a reference while students help drive conversation around issues important to their members and co-workers.

This course requires the textbook An Introduction to Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations (ISBN 9780073137155). Click here to view the full course syllabus (PDF).

Benefits to you and Your Organization

  • This class is designed to provide you and your union with the knowledge of collective bargaining and an opportunity to practice what you learn in a safe environment
  • The class will also equip you with the fundamentals of negotiations and the collective bargaining process in labor management relations.
  • The course will teach you the techniques useful for reaching agreements and ratifying a collective bargaining agreement
  • You will learn about the skills needed in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement


Arthur C. Wheaton Jr.

Arthur Wheaton is an industry education specialist based in the Cornell University ILR School office in Buffalo, New York. He is a former AFSCME union steward and local union executive board member. Art has more than 15 years experience as a labor educator teaching collective bargaining, negotiations, and conflict resolution for unions and management. He also has extensive expertise in international labor union and management research and is a resource person of the ILO and the European Foundation Living and Working Conditions. Art has a master’s degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources.



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