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, the economy, and society. The new Institute brings together researchers, educators, and students with practitioners in labor, business, and public policy to confront economic and social inequalities and to promote sustainable economic development and the creation of good jobs.
Core questions that guide our work include:
- In the current economic and social context, in the U.S. and abroad, how can labor and its allies best advance worker rights and collective representation?
- How can the labor movement represent the interests of all working people, both union and nonunion workers?
- How can the labor movement engage young workers in its mobilization efforts, campaigns, and leadership?
- How can the labor movement work with allies in the broader community to build stronger, more effective movements for social, environmental, and economic justice?
- In the face of growing inequality and political polarization, how can research and education contribute to the development of a sustainable society?
Student Fellows Program
Worker Institute faculty teach undergraduate and graduate level courses related to the labor movement, growing inequality, workers' rights, collective representation, labor law, and more. Many courses available are closely aligned with the Worker Institute's research, projects, and interests, with many of them taught by core Worker Institute faculty. Explore available course in International & Comparative Labor (ILRIC) and Labor Relations, Law and History (ILRLR).
The ILR Labor Roundtable is an annual event that brings a wide range of representatives in labor leadership, unions, and social justice organizations to campus to engage in dynamic, in-depth conversations with students.
Through these discussions, students gain exposure to current trends in the labor movement and the fundamental role that it plays in bringing about social change.
Connect with Labor
Internships with unions
Interested students can work with Worker Institute associates and ILR Career Services Office to help identify and secure semester, summer and/or post graduate internships with a union.
Research and practitioner contacts
ILR resident faculty members often connect students with Worker Institute extension associates for help with research for term papers, honors theses, and other projects. Worker Institute colleagues are closely connected to practitioners in unions, agencies, social justice and non-traditional groups promoting collective representation. We are pleased to share these contacts with ILR students.
Worker Institute associates also offer assistance to students to help facilitate job searches by offering job search advice, making contacts within unions and by reviewing resumes.
The ILR School offers several graduate degree programs.
These programs cover a diversity of topics related to labor and human resource studies including collective bargaining, labor history, labor law, organizational behavior, human resource management, labor economics, and social statistics.