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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
Read more about the Worker Institute
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Read more about the Worker Institute
Meet our Team
Learn more about our staff
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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.

 

Discover our Labor Leadership Development programs
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.

 

Register Here
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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.

Learn More
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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.

Learn More
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Learn More

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.

 

Learn more about our work with students.
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Learn more about our work with students.

Cultural Audits Support Workplace Equity

Basic training isn’t enough to stem sexual harassment in the workplace, cultural audits are needed to measure the “pulse” of organizations, according to KC Wagner.
A woman cringes as her co-worker places a hand on her shoulder
Cultural Audits Support Workplace Equity

Sweeping Change: Report Launch, November 9th, 2021

"Sweeping Change” is a new report that documents the prevalence and experiences of workplace sexual harassment in the California janitorial industry. Join us virtually on November 9th, 2021 (6-8 pm EST I 3-5 pm PST) for a report launch featuring a conversation with janitor peer educators leading change in their workplaces.
Woman protesting
Sweeping Change: Report Launch, November 9th, 2021

Estimating and Understanding Bridgeport Public School Emissions through a Carbon-Free Healthy Schools Tool

Researchers from the Labor Leading on Climate team in collaboration with Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs recently developed a geospatial dashboard to analyze Bridgeport Public School District environmental health issues while calculating potential emissions. This tool was made to support the Connecticut Carbon-Free Healthy School initiative.
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Estimating and Understanding Bridgeport Public School Emissions through a Carbon-Free Healthy Schools Tool

Workers Challenging Private Equity to Create Good Jobs

The Private Equity Stakeholder Project and the Cornell ILR Worker Institute invite you to an online forum on Thursday, October 21 from 1-2:30 p.m. ET. At this online forum you will hear from workers employed by private equity-owned companies how they are standing up and fighting for good jobs.
Photo of Protest for Minimum Wage Increase
Workers Challenging Private Equity to Create Good Jobs

Labor Leading on Climate Team Participates on 350 Brooklyn Labor and Climate Panel

Labor Leading on Climate Associates participated in 350Brooklyn’s panel session, Labor and the Climate Movement: Challenges and Opportunities
350Brooklyn
Labor Leading on Climate Team Participates on 350 Brooklyn Labor and Climate Panel

NYC Food Delivery Workers Face Paltry Pay and High Risks, Analysis Shows

The City NYC News
Even with tips, average pay amounted to $12.21 an hour, the report determined. Organizers from the worker advocacy group that conducted the survey along with the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations hope that their findings will prompt government action.
food delivery worker
NYC Food Delivery Workers Face Paltry Pay and High Risks, Analysis Shows

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.

 

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

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