4 credits. Letter grades only.
Focuses on the practice, nature, and challenges of union representation under collective bargaining agreements. Working with union contracts, constitutions, and by-laws from a diversity of national and local public- and private-sector agreements, the course examines how U.S. unions represent their members in different industries and different collective bargaining environments. Issues addressed include union representative/steward rights and responsibilities, contract enforcement structures and practice, access to information, new work systems, hours of work and scheduling, contingent staffing arrangements, workplace discrimination, health and safety, promotional opportunities, downsizing, leadership development, membership involvement and commitment, internal organizing, community coalition building, and decertification campaigns. Students practice hands-on work in interpreting contract language and preparing and presenting grievances and unfair labor practices using agreements from local unions. Students also have the opportunity to engage with local unions on resolving a real contract administration issue for that local.