Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Examples of courses in the Murphy Institute’s Labor Relations certificate program:

Comparative Labor Relations Models

This course will introduce students to the labor relations systems in a number of countries and provide a framework for examining labor relations systems globally. Participants will discuss the varied socioeconomic and political environments in which labor relations systems have developed and explore how they are responding to the challenge of globalization in the 21st century. Particular emphasis will be placed on union strategies for growth and revitalization. By studying the labor relations systems of various countries, it is possible to gain a broader perspective and thus better understand labor movements more generally and the forces that continue to shape labor’s choices and strategies. For course syllabus and links, click here.

Comparative Labor and Employment Law

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of labor and employment law in several countries representing different approaches to the fundamental social and legal project of protecting workers’ rights and regulating the relationship between labor and capital.  By exploring labor and employment laws that are rooted in different histories, political economies, and sociocultural and legal systems, students will develop a broader understanding and deeper appreciation of the fundamental labor/management issues confronting contemporary industrial societies, including the US, China, and Germany.  Individual and collective contracts, wages and benefits, working hours and leave entitlements, protections from discrimination and unfair dismissal, the right to organize, bargain collectively, and seek redress of grievances – these are some of the issues that will be explored in a comparative framework.  In an era of global supply chains, decentralized production, and the increasingly rapid and transnational movement of capital, goods, information and people, it is important for students of labor to develop a comparative and international perspective on the laws that govern labor relations. For course syllabus, click here.

Collective Bargaining Theory and Practice

This course will provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the bargaining process. Students will examine the context, content, and process of the contract negotiations. While considering both union and managements perspectives, they will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of collective bargaining to each party. Students will examine the legal framework of collective bargaining and will study the evolution of public-policy governing labor relations. At the same time, they will consider the historical evolution of strategies and tactics employed at the bargaining table in both the private and public sectors. Through the use of case studies, students will consider bargaining scenarios in a wide range of sectors and industries. Students will also gain a practical understanding by designing and participating in mock bargaining sessions. In addition to studying the negotiation process and methods of contract enforcement, students will discuss alternative models of worker representation as well as new forms of bargaining that are evolving in the context of a global economy. The course syllabus and outline are also available.

Union Organization and Function

In this course, the field of Organization Theory provides a conceptual framework for the study of organizational development, re-development, and structural change in labor organizations. Utilizing theories that explain the nature of conflict and change, they examine union leadership practice and organizational effectiveness, focusing on the changing roles of union leaders and the pace at which labor organizations must adapt to meet evolving economic realities. Students examine the effects of this crisis on unions and union leadership globally. Core union functions, such as organizing, representation and administration will be examined. The importance of strategic planning and union culture will also be discussed. Course syllabus and outline is available for download.