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The Worker Institute

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The Worker Institute at Cornell engages in research and education on contemporary labor issues, to generate innovative thinking and solutions to problems related to work, economy and society. The institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to confront growing economic and social inequalities, in the interests of working people and their families.

About

The Worker Institute at Cornell engages in research and education on contemporary labor issues, to generate innovative thinking and solutions to problems related to work, economy and society. The institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to confront growing economic and social inequalities, in the interests of working people and their families. Learn more.

Our Mission

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Meet our Team

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Learn more about our staff

The Worker Institute serves as a hub for policy research, publication, and training for policymakers, entrepreneurs, and activists engaged in the public debate to reduce economic inequality.

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Labor Leading on Climate 

The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative at the Worker Institute advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises. Addressing climate change needs to reverse inequality by creating high-wage, family and communities sustaining union jobs. The initiative's efforts focus on building a truly sustainable society and economy.

Learn more about our Labor Leading on Climate work

 

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Equity at Work

The Equity at Work initiative examines how the workplace is impacted by the evolving and changing norms of the social construction of gender roles, identity, and expression. This includes discussion of current and evolving workers' rights, the workplace contexts in which they currently exist, and individual, organizational and cultural interventions that promote and expand employment issues of respect, fairness, equity and justice.

Find out more about Equity at Work

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Precarious Work

The Precarious Workforce Initiative focuses on the labor rights and socioeconomic conditions of low-wage and contingent workers, who receive little or no benefits and have largely no institutional or legal protection.

These workers constitute the most vulnerable segment of the workforce. Their ranks include, but are not limited to, day laborers, immigrants, domestic workers, young workers, the unemployed and the formerly incarcerated.

Learn more about Precarious Work

Labor Leadership Development

 

The Worker Institute builds on a 75-year tradition by the ILR School to help fulfill Cornell’s land grant mission – to assist working people in ensuring their rights on the job and in building effective organizations and strong communities.

Our Labor Leadership Development work focuses on labor movement leadership development, strategy design and organizational change in unions, professional associations and other worker organizations.

 

ULI Class of 2019
Discover our Labor Leadership Development programs

Education and Training

For over 75 years, the Cornell ILR School has provided support, education and scholarship to assist working people in ensuring their rights on the job and building effective organizations and strong communities. The Worker Institute's training and education programs are designed to deepen the knowledge and strengthen the skills of union leaders, activists, and staff. We offer several ways for students to pursue their goals. Learn more.

 

Managing with Labor's Values

It is critical that managers at unions and social justice organizations receive training to become effective leaders and make the best use of limited resources. Participants learn techniques for helping their staff succeed and respond appropriately to common issues while honoring the values of the labor movement.

 

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Register Here

Free Workplace Health and Safety Virtual Series

Learn from and ask questions to a certified industrial hygienist, biologist and chemist and expert on occupational health and safety every second Friday, starting in September.

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Union Leadership Institute

The New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute (ULI) prepares labor and worker-justice leaders to effectively and strategically advance the rights of workers. Founded in 2001, ULI helps labor and worker justice leaders strengthen their organizations so that they are bold, innovative and able to adapt to a changing global economy and workforce.

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Student Engagement

 

The Worker Institute at Cornell is committed to engaging Cornell ILR undergraduate and graduate students through our coursesresearch fellowshipsgraduate programs, and other professional development opportunities.

 

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Learn more about our work with students.

The Worker Institute is hiring!

Cornell Worker Institute is hiring!
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The Worker Institute is hiring!

Join us: Equity in Focus: Building a Diverse, Inclusive Clean Energy Workforce

Join us on June 29, 2022 for the third webinar in a new series co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and Cornell ILR Worker Institute. 
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Join us: Equity in Focus: Building a Diverse, Inclusive Clean Energy Workforce

Two ILRies leading Outreach institutes are informing the national conversation around the historic union organizing shift.

Cathy Creighton, director of the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, and Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of ILR’s Worker Institute, have been putting their ILR education and experience to work in roles they now hold at the school.
ILR signs outside Ives
Two ILRies leading Outreach institutes are informing the national conversation around the historic union organizing shift.

2022 Migrations Awards Include Grant for Worker Institute Faculty on Central American Workers with Temporary Protective Status

The 2022 Migrations Awards include a Justice Futures Team Research Grant awarded to Patricia Campos-Medina and more for their project, “Displaced and Uprooted: Stories of Belonging, Central American TPS Workers' Defiant Struggle for their Right to Stay Home in the U.S.”
Patricia Campos Medina with TPS Worker
2022 Migrations Awards Include Grant for Worker Institute Faculty on Central American Workers with Temporary Protective Status

In-person NYC Workshop: Gender Based Violence and Harassment: The Union’s Role in Prevention, Intervention and Cultural Change

Join us in NYC on June 15 and 21, 2022. The resurgence of the #MeToo movement, resurgence in anti-transgender legislation across the country, and the continued impacts of the pandemic have challenged unions to take on issues of gender-based violence.
Workshop NYC
In-person NYC Workshop: Gender Based Violence and Harassment: The Union’s Role in Prevention, Intervention and Cultural Change

The Sound Of Solidarity: Labor’s Family-friendly Music Festival Returns

Suffolk AME, the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and more than 20 other Labor unions from throughout New York will band together in solidarity to bring the charitable Mayday Music Festival back to Southaven County Park on Long Island this May 14th, 2022.
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The Sound Of Solidarity: Labor’s Family-friendly Music Festival Returns

Lois Gray Innovation Initiative 


The Lois Gray Innovation Initiative was founded by labor pioneer Lois Gray to generate innovative thinking and solutions to problems related to work, economy, and society.

The Lois Gray Innovation Fund provide financial incentives for collaboration between resident and extension faculty in relation to priority programs of The Worker Institute.

It ensures faculty, researchers and students have the opportunity to fulfill the institute’s mission of advancing worker rights and collective representation.

 

Lois Gray, ILR School faculty member
Learn more about the Initiative

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