Labor Relations


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  • online
  • on demand

What are the topics?



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Who should attend

  • Union leaders and staff
  • Managers and supervisors in unionized environments
  • HR managers
  • Attorneys and general counsel
  • International professionals working with US-based organizations
  • Senior executives

About the course

Historically in labor relations, the enemy is always on the other side. This certificate program takes a different approach, aiming to help you see the value from both perspectives, with a focus on answering the question, “What does the other side need?”

Designed to help both new and seasoned managers and union representatives deal effectively with labor relations, the courses address aspects of collective bargaining in the United States and provide a framework for addressing labor and employer conflict in the workplace.

The program begins with a focus on establishing a foundation in collective bargaining for analysis of one’s role within the union environment. It then moves into a close look at contract negotiation, including the key skills you need to cost out a contract during tense and fast-moving negotiations. The last two courses provide a time-tested, comprehensive method to address workplace conflict from the grievance through arbitration.


Collective Bargaining

This course establishes a foundation in collective bargaining, with a focus on identifying and analyzing key aspects of a contract and how they relate to your role. You will gain insights into the bargaining process and what happens when negotiations break down. Those insights will prepare you to assess contracts and determine the requirements for administering its key components.

Effective Labor Negotiations

This course will help build your skills in the “nuts and bolts” of effective labor negotiations. You will start by identifying the organizational goals central to your bargaining strategy, then see how to move from these business goals to negotiation goals. You'll take a look at the impact of external factors and share your analysis of these factors in a discussion with your peers. Your deep understanding of the collective bargaining agreement, the unit, and the employer will lay the groundwork for success. This course provides a combination of theory and practical applications, down to expert advice on how to manage the administrative aspects of negotiations. Finally, you will choose an appropriate collective bargaining strategy for your organization. Will you take a fostering approach or a forcing approach? And how do you determine which is best? How do you mix the two approaches effectively, and what are the pitfalls you need to avoid? And lastly, you'll evaluate behaviors and styles that make negotiating so challenging. This course includes a negotiation simulation with peers.

Principles of Costing

The parties in any collective bargaining contract negotiation are seeking to balance costs and benefits in order to achieve mutual agreement. Developing proficiency in assessing relative value and costs of a benefit improves your ability to compare apples to oranges. Costing a contract entails a comfort with the fundamentals of workplace math and statistics, as well as the ability to effectively communicate this aspect of negotiation. Are you prepared to estimate numbers and explain them?

The importance of this foundation is often underestimated. This course fills gaps for both management and labor by developing a new mindset for costing a contract. You will use basic costing tools to calculate the value of a collective bargaining contract with a focus on calculating and communicating relative value and costs. You will explore the six key principles to estimate costs in order to create agreement proposals.

At the conclusion of the course, you will have applied the tools and principles to a sample proposal and counterproposal. You will have practiced the skills to assess the contract's impact to employees and developed strategies for educating stakeholders. Whether you‘re making a counterproposal or you're ready to get a contract ratified, you will be better able to explain your numbers with the confidence and experience gained from this course.

Handling Grievances

When grievances occur, taking a strategic approach is the key to productive outcomes. It takes preparation and a solid grasp of the facts and context of a situation to conclude whether a complaint is a grievance that should be heard and resolved. A complaint becomes a grievance when the issue is specified in the contract language. By reading the grievance clause carefully, you can determine whether a complaint should be heard as a grievance and consider resolution possibilities from the perspective of both parties.

This course will advance your ability to read grievance clauses effectively. You will explore the specific language included in these clauses and recognize meaning provided by common rules of interpretation. With the tools needed for solving problems and the confidence to employ them, you can overcome potential obstacles in the grievance resolution process.


For a variety of reasons, workplace grievances aren't always resolved through negotiation and require arbitration. The outcome of the arbitration hearing is determined by the arbitrator, but as a participant in an arbitration you have a critical role in the process and the results. In this course you will review the typical components of a hearing and, using proven processes and tools, practice the steps of arbitration.

You'll discover what a hearing looks like, how a hearing proceeds, and who participates. You'll analyze cases to identify facts critical to your argument and develop a theory that will lead to an issue statement. By becoming familiar with strategies for questioning witnesses, you will be prepared to present your opening and closing arguments.

Key course takeaways

  • Perform effectively in your role in administering collective bargaining agreements
  • Negotiate a labor agreement
  • Use costing tools to calculate the value of any collective bargaining contract and make counterproposals to gain mutual agreement
  • Prepare and present grievances in a strategic manner
  • Develop skills and structure to prepare and present in an arbitration hearing


Harry Katz

Harry C. Katz is the Jack Sheinkman Professor of Collective Bargaining at the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. After teaching at MIT he came to the New York State School of Industrial ...

Sally Klingel

Sally Klingel is the director of labor-management relations programming for the Scheinman Institute, where she teaches, trains and provides organizational change consulting services to labor and management groups nation-wide. She specializes in the design and implementation of conflict and negoti...

Arthur Wheaton

Arthur Wheaton is director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute at Cornell. His expertise includes industry education and workplace training, high performance work systems, negotiations and conflict resolution, as well as auto and aerospace industrial relations....

Ellen Gallin Procida

Ellen Gallin Procida has been teaching the art of arbitration advocacy for nearly 20 years. During her career as a NYC public school teacher, she first developed the skills necessary for effective advocacy by representing UFT members as the school based union representative in her school. Ellen w...

Dan McCray

Dan is an expert in workplace negotiation, mediation, arbitration, facilitation, teaching, organizational conflict, team building, leadership and change management. As Practice Leader and Director of the Labor Relations Programs, Dan is responsible for developing and teaching professional educati...

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Labor Relations at eCornell

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

Read more about Negotiations

During Negotiations courses, you will learn the following components of negotiations: planning negotiations and useful tools, starting your conversation, working out objections and competent argumentation, imposing your own price and conversation dev...

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