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About the New York State AFL-CIO / Cornell 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.

ULI ventures beyond the traditional “skills-building“ approach in labor leadership training, using a transformational model of leadership development as a tool to build inclusion and solidarity. We are a unique, multi-union, multi-sector statewide certificate program where participants share ideas and common concerns, acquire new tools, sharpen skills, and connect with other worker leaders in the New York labor and worker justice movements.

It helps build a statewide network of visionary leaders who can advance collective bargaining and worker representation in communities and workplaces.

Program Structure

ULI Classroom Photo

The curriculum combines three week-long retreats facilitated by a team of experienced and dynamic instructors. We are committed to active learning and use a wide range of participatory approaches.  

The curriculum is designed to adjust to the particular needs and actual challenges ULI participants are facing within their own organizations. ULI provides space for leaders to explore the strategic challenges they face in the workplace and society. 

Learn More


ULI Class

The Institute is looking for top-level staff and elected leaders who currently hold positions of significant responsibility within their unions. The sponsoring organization’s commitment to its nominee’s leadership development is a critical factor for admission.

A limited number of scholarships are available for participants whose unions and organizations have limited financial resources to sponsor their participation in the program. 


There’s no doubt in my mind that what we learned in this Institute as labor leaders will carry us through the tumultuous times ahead.
Randi DiAntonio, ULI Class of 2018

ULI Alumni Shares His Leadership Path to Public Office

A spotlight on ULI alumni, Randy Brolo.
Randy Brolo - ULI alumni spotlight
ULI Alumni Shares His Leadership Path to Public Office

ULI Graduation February 2023

The Union Leadership Institute (ULI) graduation was held at the Cornell ILR NYC offices on Feb 10. Participants celebrated their accomplishments with family and friends.
ULI Graduation 2023 group pic
ULI Graduation February 2023

The Worker Institute is hiring!

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

Faculty and Staff

  • Senior Extension Associate

  • Program Coordinator

  • Director of the National Labor Leadership initiative

Kathleen Mulligan is the Director of Labor Leadership Programs, and Co-Director of the National Labor Leadership Initiative, at Cornell University’s ILR School.

  • Senior Extension Associate

  • Senior Extension Associate, Labor Leadership Team

David Unger is a Senior Extension Associate for the Worker Institute’s Labor Leadership Team, where he works to help build the NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute’s presence across New Y


To speak with someone about the program or to request an information packet contact: 
Elaine Kim, Director of New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute at

New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute

The Worker Institute, ILR School
Cornell University
570 Lexington Ave
12th floor, New York, NY 10022



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