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West Side resident Bob Jahnke, a longtime member of the PUSH Community Development Committee, walks through one of the community gardens in his neighborhood.

Public Impact

As ILR, we exist to improve the world of work, labor and employment by applying our research. We create community partnerships and training to improve workers' lives across the world – starting at home through New York State's land-grant mission.

Collective Representation and Worker Voice

Vox: Why unions are growing and shrinking at the same time

“For a long time, there was a belief you couldn’t organize low-wage workers or part-time workers,” says Patricia Campos-Medina, director of the ILR Worker Institute. “Industry has changed. Our economy has changed.”
Starbucks workers rallied in Seattle to protest the company’s union-busting efforts.
Vox: Why unions are growing and shrinking at the same time

Yahoo Finance: Amazon Labor Union says 'the fight has just begun' after defeat in Staten Island

According to Harry Katz, Director of the Scheinman Institute, media relations will be a lever that the ALU can and should pull, as they need to “supplement strike leverage with public relations."
Screenshot of Yahoo Finance article.
Yahoo Finance: Amazon Labor Union says 'the fight has just begun' after defeat in Staten Island

From Retail to Tech to Universities: Unionizing for Equity in all Workplaces

Join us on Friday, April 29th, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. for a Union Days event, "From Retail to Tech to Universities: Unionizing for Equity in all Workplaces." In-person on our Ithaca campus and virtually.
Students Protesting
From Retail to Tech to Universities: Unionizing for Equity in all Workplaces

Director's Update: What's next at Amazon and Starbucks?

Scheinman Director Harry Katz discusses the impact of Amazon and Starbucks unionization efforts.
Image of Scheinman Institute Director Harry Katz.
Director's Update: What's next at Amazon and Starbucks?

Healthcare Insights by John August

John August explains how empowering workers leads to better healthcare for patients.
A group of nurses and doctors poses for a photo.
Healthcare Insights by John August

Unions are having a moment. Here’s how that can be good for labor and business.

Institute Director Harry Katz wrote an article for Fortune.com on how labor and management can achieve win-win outcomes.
Starbucks
Unions are having a moment. Here’s how that can be good for labor and business.

Wall Street Journal: Starbucks Prepares to Expand Worker Benefits That Might Exclude Unionized Staff

“It’s a union avoidance technique,” Buffalo Co-Lab director Cathy Creighton said, referring to employers discussing benefits that won’t automatically extend to unionized workers.
A Starbucks in Buffalo, N.Y., whose staff has voted to unionize.
Wall Street Journal: Starbucks Prepares to Expand Worker Benefits That Might Exclude Unionized Staff

CNN: Can Wall Street and labor unions learn to get along?

"Since the 1980s, management's perspective was that unions are the devil," said Harry Katz, professor of collective bargaining and director of the Scheinman Institute. 
Starbucks employees at a New York store vote to unionize.
CNN: Can Wall Street and labor unions learn to get along?

Starbucks Organizing Discussion April 22

"The Moment for a Movement: Starbucks and the Slow Drip of Starting a Union" is a Union Days event.
Newly organized Starbucks workers celebrate.
Starbucks Organizing Discussion April 22

Labor Tracker Serves as Resource

As labor unrest continues to surge, the ILR Labor Action Tracker founded in 2021 continues to provide nationwide information on strikes and other worker actions.
2021 Tracker Statistics
Labor Tracker Serves as Resource

ILR Research Informs Multiple Audiences

ILR’s teaching and outreach is based on the school’s research, which scholars, students, journalists and the public rely on to inform their work.
ILR's King-Shaw Hall
ILR Research Informs Multiple Audiences

Vox: Congrats! You formed a union. Now comes the hard part.

“I think it’s going to lead to more [organizing] but I don’t think it’s yet an indication of a massive turnaround,” says Harry Katz, professor in the ILR School.
Amazon Labor Union workers celebrate their election win on April 1.
Vox: Congrats! You formed a union. Now comes the hard part.

Book Launch: The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

Join us on May 2nd at 11 AM EST for an in-person and virtual book launch of The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, written by Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta that will be livestreamed.
People protesting
Book Launch: The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

The Moment for a Movement: Starbucks and the Slow Drip of Starting a Union

Learn the ins and outs of how to unionize a workplace and what legal methods Starbucks has used to delay the votes. In-person event, free and open to the public.
Starbucks Coffee
The Moment for a Movement: Starbucks and the Slow Drip of Starting a Union

AP: Disney in balancing act as some workers walk out in protest

In response to Disney’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, workers are threatening a full-day walkout. Patricia Campos-Medina says, “people felt surprised that they [Disney] wanted to stay quiet on this issue,” because Disney has long been influential in Florida politics and social issues.
Disney cast member Nicholas Maldonado protests his company's stance on LGBTQ issues, while participating in an employee walkout at Walt Disney World, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
AP: Disney in balancing act as some workers walk out in protest

Tretter Re-Elected President of NFL Union

ILR alumnus continues to make his mark as leader of the National Football League Players Association.
JC Tretter on the field during pre-game warm-ups with the Cleveland Browns (Erik Drost).
Tretter Re-Elected President of NFL Union

Triangle Fire Book Talk is March 21

“‘Talking to the Girls’ invites engagement with a tragedy and its lasting legacy,” said Kheel Center Director Wesley Chenault, who will moderate the discussion.
Garment workers in NYC
Triangle Fire Book Talk is March 21

Kuruvilla Named Academic Fellow

The Labor and Employment Relations Association will honor Professor Sarosh Kuruvilla June 3 for extraordinary contributions to the industrial relations field.
Kuruvilla Named Academic Fellow

Labor Activism Surge Tracked

American workers went on strike for a combined 3.2 million days in 2021 in response to health and safety concerns, pay, racial injustices, sexual harassment and other issues, according to the Cornell ILR Labor Action Tracker.
Strike signs
Labor Activism Surge Tracked

ILR Opens Doors to Many Paths

A High Road Fellowship and other experiences have helped Kevin Diaz '24 thrive at Cornell.
Kevin Diaz '24
ILR Opens Doors to Many Paths

Healthcare Insights by John August

Director of Partner and Healthcare Programs John August discusses the nursing shortage crisis in America.
Healthcare worker puts on a mask
Healthcare Insights by John August

New Conversations Project Partners with ILO on Grant

Improving working conditions in the dangerous and largely unregulated commercial fishing industry is the focus of the project.
An industrial fishing boat
New Conversations Project Partners with ILO on Grant

ILR Scientist Teaches COVID Workplace Safety

Many have turned to Nellie Brown, director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs at the ILR School, for guidance on how to keep their offices safe from COVID-19.
Nellie Brown
ILR Scientist Teaches COVID Workplace Safety

Research Project on Worker Organizing Announced

“Achieving Greater Worker Voice, Equity, and Mobility: A Multi-Industry Study of Organizing Efforts and Their Outcomes,” will be led by Labor Education Research Director Kate Bronfenbrenner and MIT Professor Thomas A. Kochan.
Kate Bronfenbrenner headshot
Research Project on Worker Organizing Announced

Brewing Workplace Democracy: Starbucks and the Slow Drip of Starting a Union

Join the Cornell University ILR Buffalo Co-Lab for a timely, interactive discussion on unionization in today's workplaces.
brewing
Brewing Workplace Democracy: Starbucks and the Slow Drip of Starting a Union

Rare Starbucks union vote set to begin in Buffalo

Cathy Creighton, director of Buffalo Co-Lab, says unions can actually help a company because workers who are better paid are more stable and less likely to leave.
screen shot of AP story about Starbucks union vote
Rare Starbucks union vote set to begin in Buffalo

New York Times: In a ‘Workers Economy,’ Who Really Holds the Cards?

This article reference the ILR School’s Labor Action Tracker, which provides a comprehensive database of strike and labor protest activity across the United States in order to better inform and support labor movement activists, policymakers, and scholars.
screenshot of New York Times story
New York Times: In a ‘Workers Economy,’ Who Really Holds the Cards?

Wall Street Journal: Deere’s Labor Dispute Resurrects Talk of Inflation Adjustments

Striking Deere & Co. employees this week are expected to vote on a contract with more protections against rising inflation that resurfaced as an issue in negotiations for the first time in years.
screenshot of wsj site
Wall Street Journal: Deere’s Labor Dispute Resurrects Talk of Inflation Adjustments

How long could Mercy Hospital strike last? Progress so far has been elusive

The Buffalo News logo
Director of the Buffalo Co-Lab, Cathy Creighton, says the wage and staffing discussions at Mercy Hospital are closely related, as some of the lower-skill jobs pay as little as $13 an hour, making it easy for those workers to switch fields and chase higher wages.
screenshot of The Buffalo News
How long could Mercy Hospital strike last? Progress so far has been elusive

Campos-Medina Receives Award

The Latino Coalition of New Jersey has honored Worker Institute Executive Director Patricia Campos-Medina for her work on behalf of laborers, undocumented immigrants and domestic workers.
Patricia Campos-Medina in NYC
Campos-Medina Receives Award

NYC Food Delivery Workers Face a ‘Harrowing World’

New York City’s app-based delivery workers regularly face nonpayment or underpayment, unsanitary or unsafe working conditions and the risk of violence, according to a new ILR School report.
A biker making a delivery
NYC Food Delivery Workers Face a ‘Harrowing World’

Unions split on vaccine mandates, complicating Biden push

AP News logo
The labor movement is torn over vaccine requirements, but according to Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director for the Worker Institute, mandatory vaccination is such an obviously important public health policy that she expects unions to ultimately accept it.
Screenshot of AP News Story for use as a thumbnail
Unions split on vaccine mandates, complicating Biden push

A Geography of Self-Reported Labor Union Membership in the United States

map to illustrate the mapping tool in use
A Geography of Self-Reported Labor Union Membership in the United States

A Labor Day Message from Patricia Campos Medina

As we celebrate Labor Day, we at The Worker Institute honor workers by recommitting ourselves to our founding mission to advance collective bargaining rights and collective worker power through our applied research, training, and policy innovation on critical issues facing workers today.
A Labor Day Message from Patricia Campos Medina

UN calls IPCC climate report ‘code red for humanity’ -- how an equitable, resilient, climate jobs movement can save us

Cornell’s Labor Leading on Climate research team addresses findings from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and highlights the opportunity for workers and their unions to tackle climate change and reverse inequality through high-quality, union job creation.
It Takes Work
UN calls IPCC climate report ‘code red for humanity’ -- how an equitable, resilient, climate jobs movement can save us

A strike at Nabisco is testing the power of unions in the pandemic

Quartz logo
Since Aug. 10, about 1,000 union Nabisco workers across five states have been on strike over contract disagreements. Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director at The Worker Institute, says the tight labor market gives workers and unions more power.
screenshot of qz.com story for use as thumbnail
A strike at Nabisco is testing the power of unions in the pandemic

Unionization and Purpose: Achieving Competitive Advantage through Frontline Engagement

John August explores the relationship between employee engagement, unionization, and performance.
Healthcare worker with arms crossed
Unionization and Purpose: Achieving Competitive Advantage through Frontline Engagement

“Once in a Generation Moment” Discussed in Webinar

The course of labor could change dramatically during the Biden administration. On Monday, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Dean Alex Colvin discussed what’s at play.
Screenshot of eCornell webinar featuring Tom Perez and Dean Alex Colvin
“Once in a Generation Moment” Discussed in Webinar

Labor Action Tracker Launches on May Day

The tool enables a better understanding of the scope of labor unrest across the U.S. by tracking labor actions involving two or more people and distinguishing between protests and strikes, said project lead John Kallas, Ph.D. ’23.
Screenshot of ILR's Labor Action Tracker
Labor Action Tracker Launches on May Day

Teaching Essential Negotiation Skills

The Scheinman Institute's work with the American Federation of Teachers has helped the AFT develop confident and effective leadership who have a comprehensive understanding of collective bargaining as a tool for positive change.
Randi Weingarten
Teaching Essential Negotiation Skills

Beyond Resilience… How Collective Bargaining Creates Conditions For A Sustainable Positive Work Environment

Director of Healthcare and Partner Programs John August explores strategies that organizations can use to foster a positive work environment post pandemic.
Healthcare Worker
Beyond Resilience… How Collective Bargaining Creates Conditions For A Sustainable Positive Work Environment

Labor and Employment Law Program Hosts New NLRB Chairman, Lauren McFerran

The Labor and Employment Law Program recently held a webinar, “A Conversation with NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran.” Respondents were former NLRB Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra, Partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, who represents management, and Alyson Belovin, Partner at Levy Ratner PC, who represents unions.
National Labor Relations Board
Labor and Employment Law Program Hosts New NLRB Chairman, Lauren McFerran

Unions’ Support for Precarious Workers Explored

Research by Laura Carver, M.S. '20, and Associate Professor Virginia Doellgast published by "European Journal of Industrial Relations."
Protest We want justice sign
Unions’ Support for Precarious Workers Explored

Profile of a Platform-Worker

Profile of a platform worker Espen Utne Landgraff, who lives and works in Oslo, Norway by journalist E. Tammy Kim.
Drawing of Espen Utne Landgraff by Molly Crabapple
Profile of a Platform-Worker

The Expansion and Implications of Various Forms of Collective Representation in the United States

Director Harry Katz's farewell address as President of the Labor Employment Relations Association.
A group of seven people stand in front of floor to ceiling windows with blue skies beyond.
The Expansion and Implications of Various Forms of Collective Representation in the United States