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ILR School

The American Worker in the Global Industrial Relations (LS038)

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About the course

This 7-week class is designed to provide union members, officers, and staff, with a fundamental understanding of the operations and impact of corporate globalization, especially as it relates to labor-management relations. The course aims at detecting and refuting the myths about corporate globalization which are at the core of the political agendas of major political parties.

It will enable participants in the class to gain a clear overview of corporate globalization and the inequality it fosters, and to concisely explain to union members and the general public the impact of corporate globalization both in specific local situations (for example, the threatened relocation of a plant) and in the larger, increasingly unequal US economy.

Key Topics:

  • What is corporate globalization and how is it different from other forms of globalization taking place?
  • How is corporate globalization distinguished from "trade"?
  • What are the key elements of the system of corporate globalization, including corporations' decision-making, "free trade" agreements like NAFTA and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, and global financial institutions?
  • How has corporate globalization re-shaped labor-management relations in various sectors of the economy?
  • What are the prevailing myths which divert public debate from the genuine issues involved in corporate globalization?
  • Is there a link between increasing corporate globalization and rising inequality in the US?
  • How does corporate globalization affect your members and the future of your community and the public interest?
  • Can re-training and business subsidies restore solid, good-paying jobs and community health?
  • What can labor due to build the internationa alliances necessary to match the global reach of major corporations with operations in many nations?
  • Are there workable economic alternatives to the dominant model of corporate globalization?

Approach and Features:

  • Decisions that relocate massive numbers of jobs and result in permanent community decline are regarded as properly being made exclusively by corporate CEOs in the pursuit of maximum profit. This underlying assumption, the sweeping reach of privately-made decisions, and the meaning for American democracy will examined.
  • How corporate globalization is now eliminating the jobs of large numbers of professional employees.
  • Reasons why corporate globalization has often fostered resentment against immigrants moving across borders to seek better lives rather than corporations relocating to achieve maximum profits.
  • Why majority public opposition to “free trade” has less impact on elected representatives than support for “free trade” from elite sectors.
  • Practical steps that unions can take in response to corporate relocations of jobs and to government policies that foster the loss of US jobs and our productive base.

Benefits to you and Your Organization

This class will deepen your understanding of the processes of corporate globalization which have so profoundly de-stabilized the futures of working Americans, their families, and communities. In particular, the shadow cast by globalization on labor-management relations will be more clearly understood. The course will also focus on enhancing your ability to concisely and clearly explain the issue of corporate globalization to your members, the public, and media. Your increased understanding will advance your membership’s ability to assess concrete problems and larger issues.

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