Courses and Classes in Labor Relations

Essential Information

Courses in labor relations educate students about the history, impact and issues pertaining to the workplace. Many schools offer programs that culminate in a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies or a Master of Arts in Labor Studies. Students who complete such programs may find jobs in labor unions, for non-profit organizations or as labor representatives in companies that employ union workers. A majority of these courses can also be taken online.

Here are a few common concepts found in labor relations courses:

  • Protection of rights
  • Agreements
  • Industrialization/urbanization
  • Modern labor movement
  • Issues
  • Immigrants
  • Women

List of Labor Relations Courses

Study of Labor Course

This introductory course is typically the first in labor studies that students take in a degree program. Students learn about the development of the workplace, patterns of labor-management relations, the government's role in the workplace and human resource issues. This class is intended to give students a background in the terminology and theories of importance in the labor studies field.

American Labor History Course

A class in American labor history will inform students about the development of the country's workforce, starting in colonial America and ending in the modern era. Topics in this class include early American labor systems, the transition to an industrialized society, slavery, industrial unionization, famous strikes, the United Auto Workers (UAW), Jimmy Hoffa and current union trends. Some colleges break this class into two sections. This class is usually mandatory and taken during freshman or sophomore year.

Labor Law Course

In this class, students learn about the legal issues that involve labor relations. Topics covered include the legality of collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Act, difficulties in legal enforcement, contract negotiation, workers' organization and benefit legislation. This class, which is extremely useful for anyone interested in a legal career, is often broken into multiple parts due to the depth of its study. This class is usually required for any labor studies majors and can be a prerequisite for further coursework.

Collective Bargaining Course

Collective bargaining, defined as a type of negotiation where workers unite to settle a contract with management, is a contentious and complex issue in labor relations. Students in a collective bargaining course learn negotiation strategies, contract language, good faith bargaining, legal ramifications of collective bargaining, arbitration and public policy impacts. This class is usually offered during junior or senior year and is usually mandatory.

Labor and Government Course

Students in this course learn about the various ways labor and government intersect with each other. Political lobbying, consensus building, government response, the impact of the New Deal and public policy issues are among the primary topics covered. This class is helpful for students who wish to have a career working as a political lobbyist, arbitrator or lawyer. A course in labor and government is usually offered during junior or senior year.

Workplace Diversity Course

Class, race, gender and age impact the workplace in a variety of ways. Workplace diversity classes focus on the interplay of different demographic groups. Students will explore the topics of cultural dynamics, organizational behavior, strategies for addressing diversity and immigration policy. A significant amount of coursework revolves around case studies and group discussions. Depending on the specific program, this class may serve as either an elective or a requirement and is usually taken senior year.

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