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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Unions

Course Number
LS265
This course considers implications of expanded membership diversity and expectations of just treatment for organizational fairness and inclusion – i.e. diversity, equity and inclusion in unions. Emphasis will be placed on developing knowledge, awareness and skills and facilitate communication around difficult issues of race and other dimensions of difference.

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Course

What happens in community, membership brings into the union. Black Lives Matter, #Me Too movement, LGBTQ rights, growing awareness of violence against people of Asian descent.  The political and cultural push for new understandings of justice and systemic change demand response from the labor movement and within unions. 

This course considers implications of expanded membership diversity and expectations of just treatment for organizational fairness and inclusion – i.e. diversity, equity and inclusion in unions.  We will work from the premise that building unity across an increasingly diverse membership turns on 1) respectful treatment for all, 2) shared acknowledgement of an interdependent future and 3) capacity to learn from difference.  We will assume diversity includes everyone, our varied cultural backgrounds, identities and experiences. Emphasis will be placed on developing knowledge, awareness and skills as union leaders and activists to better understand membership differences, recognize and respond to subtle acts of exclusion, and facilitate communication around difficult issues of race and other dimensions of difference. 

 

Key Topics

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Exploring fairness:  equity vs. equality
  • Recognizing bias: the trouble with color-blindness
  • The stories we tell ourselves, implicit bias and systemic inequity
  • Recognizing disrespect and subtle acts of exclusion
  • Negotiating complex identity: individuals and members of groups
  • Perspective taking as a skill to build relationship across difference
  • Navigating diversity-related conflict resolution when differences clash
  • Contemporary issues of social justice:  out there, in here

Approaches and Features

The course is designed as a conversation.  Participants will be encouraged to learn from and with one another.  Case scenarios will be used to identify diversity related issues and offer opportunity for analysis and insight.  Each module features segments on diverse voices where diverse union leaders or members offer insights and describe experiences.   Each student will be asked to interview a union leader, staff, activist or member about their experience and share those perspectives with the class.   The course will utilize two texts: Derald Wing Sue, Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence:  Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race and Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, Subtle Acts of Exclusion:  How to Understand, Identify and Stop Microaggressions, two key topics in the course.  Other areas will be developed through journal articles and union-based materials and videos. 

How You Will Benefit

  • Build awareness of people issues around difference – respect, recognition, fairness and inclusion
  • Understand diversity, equity and inclusion as organizational concepts
  • Learn to recognize when diversity-related misunderstanding threatens unity and respond
  • Recognize subtle acts of exclusion that undermine respect and respond effectively
  • Build people skills to navigate uncomfortable and difficult conversations about difference         
  • Strengthen capacity to learn from difference, build relationships and represent diverse needs   
  • Gain insight for promoting unity across a diverse membership

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This course is part of this certificate