University of Illinois Offers Labor Education Classes in Chicago

by Kenzo Shibata | Aug 21, 2014
Learn more about labor history and activism!
Here is a listing of the classes offered in the fall semester at our Chicago location. Please contact Maria Dokes for further information and to register.  

Steward Training – Saturday, September 27, 2014  9AM – 5PM                         
This class will discuss how to investigate, screen, write, and negotiate a grievance; the seven principles of just cause; the law including the legal right of union stewards, unfair labor practices, and the duty of fair representation; and past practice grievances. The class will discuss several common grievance areas, and we will practice resolving grievances. 

Internal Organizing – Saturday, October 18, 2014   9AM – 5PM
The class will discuss ways to educate, organize, and mobilize the members. We will review examples of how some locals have succeeded in transforming their unions.  Topics include collective action around grievances; confronting and overcoming divisions such as over race, gender, or immigration status; responding to apathetic or anti-union members; organizing member-to-member action networks and contract campaigns; and building strategic campaigns and labor-community alliances.  

Labor and Employment Law – Saturday, November 15, 2014   9AM – 5PM 
The class covers the basics of labor and employment laws that every union activist should know. The class reviews the laws, the agencies that administer the laws, and the effectiveness of the laws and their enforcement.  The course covers both the National Labor Relations Act on union organizing, strikes, lockouts, and the rights of unionists to take on-the-job actions to defend their contract; and employment laws that impact all workers such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and non-discrimination laws.  Instructor: Steven Ashby.  Attorneys are guest lecturers on several topics.   

Common Sense Economics – Saturday, January 17, 2014   9AM – 5PM         
This class explores how the American middle-class job evolved and why workers (union and non-union) and their families today are finding it hard to hold onto the American standard of living.  In recent years, twenty states have introduced bills to restrict or eliminate the right of workers to collectively bargain; seven states have introduced bills to cut wages by rolling back prevailing wage laws; and fourteen states have introduced bills to institute right-to-work-for-less laws including a bill in Missouri that would roll back prohibitions on the use of child labor, including eliminating the prohibition of children under fourteen. In this “new Gilded Age,” we are witnessing a historic return to the frontal assault on worker rights. This class will offer an overview of the current economic, legislative, and political climates; case studies about how workers are organizing and fighting back; and an opportunity to analyze and discuss where the labor movement goes from here.   

Collective Bargaining – Saturday, February 21, 2014    9AM – 5PM  
This class introduces the student to the process and content of collective bargaining. It addresses among other items the legal obligations to bargain, mandatory and permissible subjects of bargaining, types of bargaining relationships, styles of bargaining and takes the student thorough multiple stages of labor negotiations.  The class also examines the critical information necessary to bargain successfully. Students learn to analyze a contract, cost out a contract, develop a bargaining proposal, practice good table behavior, negotiating skills, how to use the caucus, keep records, and write appropriate contract language.  

Labor History – Saturday, March 21, 2014   9AM – 5PM           
What does the history of the U.S. look like when viewed from the point of view of those who built the country?  The class reviews working class and labor history since the Civil War, but focuses (with films) on some key labor struggles such as the 1894 Pullman Strike; organizing in the mine and textile industries; the rise of the CIO and the autoworker sit-down strikes; the impact of McCarthyism on the labor movement; and the expansion of public sector unionization (1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike and the 1970 Postal Workers Strike).   

Winning at the NLRB – Saturday, April 18, 2014   9AM – 5PM
This course will provide union and nonunion workers with the tools they need to assert and protect their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The course will be taught by NLRB Region 13 Field Attorney, Lisa Friedheim-Weis who has worked at the Board for sixteen years and earned her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and law degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students will not only be educated about how the NLRA can protect worker rights but how they can determine what criteria is necessary for bringing cases to the board.

Labor Education Program
School of Labor and Employment Relations
Certificate Program Course Offerings
Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
815 West Van Buren Ste. 110
Chicago, IL 60607