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Union Research Summer School – June 2011

15 January, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The AFL-CIO and Cornell University are sponsoring a Strategic Corporate Research Summer School on June 12-17, 2011 in Ithaca, New York.  The course (credit or non-credit) is designed for undergrad and grad students who are interested in working as union researchers and campaigners.  The registration deadline is May 17. Scholarships are available if taking the course for credit.  To obtain a registration form and other information, go to http://www.sce.cornell.edu/ss/programs.php?v=STRATCORP&s=Overview or contact Kate Bronfenbrenner at (607) 254-4749 or scrsummer@cornell.edu.



Strategic Corporate Research Summer School 2011

June 12-17, 2011 – Cornell University campus, Ithaca, NY

Understanding and researching corporate ownership structure, corporate finance, and the sources of corporate power

Sponsors: The Strategic Corporate Research program is offered by the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research and is intended for undergraduate and graduate students interested in working in the labor movement.


The Course

Despite enormous challenges in organizing and bargaining in a rapidly changing global economy, this is a time of great opportunity and innovation by American unions.

Nowhere is this more evident than in recent union organizing and bargaining campaign victories such as the Teamsters and Communications Workers at Continental Airlines, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and Piedmont; National Nurses United in large units at hospitals across the United States; the United Auto Workers at casinos in Detroit, Atlantic City, and Foxwoods (Connecticut); the Service Employees in property services worldwide; and the United Steelworkers’ global campaigns to fight for justice for rubber workers at Firestone in Liberia, miners in Mexico, and Coca-Cola workers in Colombia. These victories came about because of a combination of grassroots rank-and-file mobilizing and leadership development, and escalating actions in the workplace and broader community; fundamental to all these campaigns was careful strategic research.

Unfortunately the U.S. labor movement today is facing a critical shortage of trained organizing, bargaining, and campaign staff with strategic research training who understand both corporate structure and finance, and union campaign strategies. To help meet this need nine years ago the AFL-CIO asked the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations to develop a one-week intensive credit course on strategic corporate research for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates interested in working with the labor movement upon completion of their degrees. The course will be available as either a non-credit course or as a 1.5-credit-hour undergraduate course with an additional research and writing assignment. Those interested in pursuing strategic corporate research positions within unions are strongly advised to take the course for credit so that they will have the additional experience of researching an actual corporation, and have a completed strategic research report to show prospective union employers.

This course will be designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the nature and structure of corporate ownership, finance, and power in today’s economy. Through lectures, readings, case studies, research training and exercises the class will provide students with the tools to pose and answer basic questions on the operations, structure, and industrial relations strategies of corporate America. In particular this course will focus on how these company characteristics, structures, and practices impact the firm’s labor relations policies and strategies and how unions can best respond to and capitalize on these characteristics in union strategic organizing and bargaining campaigns.

The course will also provide in-depth hands-on training in the online and library research tools required to conduct strategic corporate research. As part of this course students will work through a series of case studies dealing with diverse firms and industries, as well as have an opportunity to conduct in-depth research on an actual firm in the context of union organizing or bargaining.

Because of the limited time available while students are here on campus, they will be sent books and a course pack several weeks before the class takes place to give them an opportunity to complete a significant amount of the reading before they arrive. In addition to reading assignments, there will be short written exercises and class presentations to be complete while the class is in session. Students taking the course for credit will be required to conduct independent research and write a 25-30 page paper summarizing comprehensive corporate research and analysis for a designated company. The final paper will be due six weeks after the class and will count for 50 percent of the grade for the course.


The Faculty

Program instructors are committed to assisting graduates of the program in finding strategic corporate research positions within the labor movement. In the first five years of the program we have been able to place more then sixty students in top research positions in the AFL-CIO, CTW, UNITE HERE, SEIU, USW, LIUNA, IBT, and other unions across the United States.

Kate Bronfenbrenner

Kate Bronfenbrenner is the Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1993. Bronfenbrenner’s primary research and teaching interests focus on union and employer behavior in organizing, bargaining, and contract administration, strategic corporate research and comprehensive cross-border campaigns, and the impact of global trade and investment policy on workers, wages, and unions.

Glenn W. Perusek

Glenn W. Perusek is Director of the Center for Strategic Research at the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC. He oversees research and planning for strategic organizing initiatives. He earned a B.A. from Kent State University and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, where he was a Merriam Fellow and won the Baker Prize. His publications include Shifting Terrain (2006). Perusek was a journeyman member of the typographical union in Chicago.

Tom Juravich

Tom Juravich is a professor of labor studies at the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, where he teaches courses in labor research, work and the labor process, contemporary labor issues, and advanced corporate research. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Juravich has written extensively on union bargaining and organizing strategies, work and the labor process, worker culture, and the history of work and labor.


Campus Life

Schedule for the week

Registration, orientation, and an opening reception and plenary panel will take place from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, at the ILR Conference Center.

Registration will begin at 5:30, and the orientation and introductory program will begin at 7:15 p.m. In order to accomplish the aims of the program in the short time allotted, students should be prepared for a schedule that is both rigorous and intense. Attendance in all class time, including the opening session, is mandatory for all participants in the program. Full days will be the norm, including out-of-class small-group assignments and one evening session. Class will meet Monday through Thursday at the ILR Conference Center from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday evenings through 9:00 p.m., and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Students should be prepared to work in small-group assignments on every night outside of class and should not be making other social arrangements while they are in Ithaca. Further details will be sent with confirmation letters.



Students will be housed in a unionized residence hall on North Campus. Each bedroom is furnished with twin beds, desk, chair, lamp and dresser. The rooms are in suites of four to six rooms clustered around a shared bathroom and living space. Room rates are $44 per night for “singles” (one person each bedroom) or $31 per person/per night for “doubles” (two persons each bedroom) plus a one-time administrative fee of $32 per person. The separate parking fee at the dorm is $5/day. All students will also be provided with a campus bus pass, free of charge. Parking and housing costs are the responsibility of the individual student. Room reservations must be received at Cornell by May 29, 2011. Note: If you choose a “single,” you will be sharing your suite with several other people of the same gender. You will have a private bedroom, but a shared bath. Beds are made on arrival and linens and towels are provided, but there is no daily housekeeping service. This is definitely DORM housing, so if you want air conditioning or more comfortable accommodations and would prefer to stay in a hotel, you are free to make your own arrangements with area hotels. However, be advised that all of them will cost you a great deal more than the dorm.

Please refer to ILR’s hotels page: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/conferencecenter/directions/hotels.html




From the dorms at North Campus to the classrooms of the ILR Conference Center you may walk (about 20 minutes), bike (5 minutes), or use the campus shuttle bus service (bus passes provided free to all students staying on campus). If you are housed off campus, you are responsible for your own transportation to campus. On-campus parking is severely limited and discouraged.



Included in the registration fee is a picnic on Wednesday evening at Taughannock State Park on beautiful Cayuga Lake, and the graduation lunch on Friday afternoon. Meals, including breakfast, are available at several on-campus dining facilities on a cash basis both near the dorms and near the conference center. We will also be providing a continental breakfast at the conference center each morning before the program begins. A dining guide of on-campus and off-campus locations will be provided for your convenience, many of which are within walking distance of the dorms and the conference center.



The climate in upstate New York in June can be quite variable, ranging from a rainy 40 degrees to a humid and hot 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, we suggest you bring clothing suitable for both, including a rain jacket, sweaters, shorts, and a swimming suit.



The ILR classrooms are all accessible. Please let us know about any other accommodations you may require for housing or meals.



Registration Fee

The registration fee covers all instruction, books and materials, bus passes, opening reception, picnic on Wednesday night, and closing luncheon on Friday. A $100 tuition deposit is required for all registrations no later than May 17, 2011.

– Non-credit fee: The non-credit fee is $850, and all individual students are eligible for an AFL-CIO grant of $300, reducing the cost to $550, except for those participants whose program charge is being paid by their sponsoring union employer. Those students will have their union employer pay the full $850 non-credit fee.

– Credit course fee: The tuition for those enrolling in the 1.5-credit class is $1,582.50, and all individual students are eligible for an AFL-CIO grant of $682.50, reducing the cost to $900, except for those whose program charge is being paid by their sponsoring union employer. Those students will have their union employer pay the full $1,582.50 credit tuition fee.



The AFL-CIO will provide a limited number of additional needs-based scholarships to further reduce the cost of tuition for students taking the course for credit. THESE SCHOLARSHIPS ARE ONLY FOR STUDENTS TAKING THE COURSE FOR CREDIT AND WRITING A RESEARCH PAPER; NON-CREDIT STUDENTS DO NOT QUALIFY. To apply for a scholarship, please attach an additional one-page essay outlining your reasons for requesting this scholarship. Please note that the scholarships only apply to those students interested in taking the course for credit, and will only cover a portion of the credit tuition cost. Union employees and students who are funded by their employer are not eligible.



Acceptance to the program will be limited based on space, experience, and qualifications. Because of the combination of limited space and high demand for the course, we urge students to send in their application forms as soon as possible. The closing date for applications will be May 17, 2011, and acceptance letters will be sent out on May 20, 2011. All students interested in attending the program must complete the online application including a two- to three-page single-spaced essay explaining why they are interested in attending the program and what they plan to do upon completion of their degree. Each applicant should also have at least one letter of reference sent by the reference directly to Kate Bronfenbrenner either by email to klb23@cornell.edu or by mail to Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research, 356 ILR Research Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. The letter(s) should speak to as many of the following attributes about the applicant as possible: research and writing aptitude and experience; depth of knowledge and experience relating to strategic corporate research, labor policy, globalization, or.ganizing, bargaining, and comprehensive campaigns; and finally long term academic and career goals.



Application Form

Fill out the application form on line effective January 10:



Refund Policy

To withdraw from this special program, you must notify the Special Programs office. Your refund amount will be determined by the date on which you notify the director.

For more information about the Strategic Corporate Research Summer School 2011 program, please contact Kate Bronfenbrenner at (607) 254-4749 or e-mail scrsummer@cornell.edu.



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