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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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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.

Labor Secretary Walsh, AFL-CIO Pres. Shuler, Union and Climate Leaders to Participate in Climate Jobs Summit

On Tuesday, September 21, the second virtual annual Climate Jobs Summit will convene leaders from the labor and climate movements, policymakers, scientists, academics, and activists to discuss America’s historic opportunity to build a worker-centered clean energy economy.
Collage of Workers in Clean Energy
Labor Secretary Walsh, AFL-CIO Pres. Shuler, Union and Climate Leaders to Participate in Climate Jobs Summit

Skinner Wins Award

Labor Leading on Climate Director Lara Skinner will be recognized Sept. 21 for helping make New York City a model of progress for the nation.
Lara Skinner
Skinner Wins Award

First of its kind industry report shows New York City’s App-based delivery workers experience harsh working conditions

Los Deliveristas / Worker's Justice Project and Cornell ILR’s Worker Institute released a new report titled, “Essential but Unprotected: App-based Food Couriers in New York City.” The report examines the harsh and unregulated working conditions of app-based delivery workers engaged by digital platforms.
Delivery Biker in New York City
First of its kind industry report shows New York City’s App-based delivery workers experience harsh working conditions

Skinner to be Honored at the 2021 Movement Builders Awards

Lara Skinner, Labor Leading on Climate Director, is an honoree of the 2021 Movement Builders Awards for her tireless advocacy for a just transition to a renewable energy economy.
cartoon people with protest signs
Skinner to be Honored at the 2021 Movement Builders Awards

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

A Labor Day Message from Ileen Devault

It has been my distinct pleasure and honor to serve as the Academic Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell’s ILR School over the past five years. Over this time, my colleagues in The Worker Institute, both past, and present, continually have inspired me.
Ileen DeVault walking up a staircase in Ives Hall.
A Labor Day Message from Ileen Devault

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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