ILR School

Labor Relations in the Public Sector (LS238)

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About the course

Public sector unions are vitally important to protect and defend because they account for the largest percentage of the unionized workforce. This online course is designed to acquaint labor relations professionals, union members, union stewards and officers with a basic understanding of public sector labor relations. A multi-state/locality approach will be utilized to provide students with an overview of the state of public sector unions nationwide.

Key Topics

  • The role of politics in the public sector collective bargaining process
  • The legal rights and obligations of public employers, public employees and public employee organizations
  • Economic and non-economic issues addressed in public sector collective bargaining
  • The public sector collective bargaining process
  • The administration of the grievance process in public sector collective bargaining agreements
  • Issues relating to contemporary public sector labor relations

Approach and Features

This is an 11-week online course. Each week (Monday) the instructor will post a narrated PowerPoint presentation along with other instructional information. Assignments will be due by Saturday.

There will be a research assignment, active use of a discussion board, case studies and a negotiations activity.

Benefits to You and Your Organization

The attacks against public sector unionism are escalating. Several state legislatures are considering abolishing public sector bargaining and the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of agency shop fees. Leaders and members of local unions need skills to build strong unions to combat these attacks.

This course is a part of the Cornell ILR Online Labor Studies Program and meets the Labor Law core requirement necessary to earn a Certificate of Labor Studies. Upon completion you will earn 3.0 credits that can be used towards a Certificate of Labor Studies.

Trust the experts

John Moody

Formerly a Labor Relations Specialist with the New York State United Teachers (AFT, AFL-CIO), has worked with public sector unions for over 30 years. He has negotiated hundreds of contracts, represented members at countless grievance/arbitration hearings, and has organized many new bargaining uni...


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