LER 100 “Introduction to Labor Studies”
eight weeks course.
October 17 to December 7
INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Steven K. Ashby, Full Clinical Professor, School of Labor and
Please email me on Compass email
My office is at the LER Labor Education Program office in Chicago.
Please send me a Compass email to arrange a phone appointment.
815 W. Van Buren #110, Chicago IL 60607
ABOUT THE COURSE
The course provides an overview of workers and unions in American society and introduces you
to topics covered in the field of Labor Studies.
The course looks at economic, political, and
workplace issues facing working people, why and how workers join unions, how unions are
structured and function, and how unions and management bargain a contract.
The class includes
a historical overview of the American labor movement, and discusses the contemporary struggles
workers and unions face in a rapidly changing global economy.
Finally, the class examines a
contemporary labor struggle as a vehicle to explore changing labor-management relations, the
U.S. government’s role, and internal struggles within the labor movement itself.
Upon completing this course you will:
Be able to use key labor terms;
Understand a number of issues facing working people, including poverty, low wages,
income inequality, declining medical benefits and pensions, plant closings and
unemployment, and racial and sexual harassment on the job;
Understand why workers organize and join unions;
Understand basic U.S. employment and labor laws impacting workers;
Understand how individual unions, and the U.S. labor movement as a whole, are
Have an overview of U.S. labor and working class history;
Be able to analyze the problems and options facing one local union in a labor conflict
Be able to analyze the problems and options facing the entire labor movement; and
Become a keen observer of the interplay between U.S. labor unions, corporations, the
U.S. government, the media, and the American people.