LER - Labor and Employment Relations

LER Class Schedule


LER 100   Introduction to Labor Studies   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides an overview of workers and unions in American society. 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. Provides a historical overview of the American labor movement, and discusses the contemporary struggles workers and unions face in a rapidly changing global economy.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci

LER 110   Labor and Social Movements   credit: 3 Hours.

Explores the role of labor unions in American society. Discusses the role of labor unions in initiating actions on social issues that impact the U.S. working class, the economy, public policy, and politics. Analyzes the labor movement's interaction with the civil rights, women's, student, global justice, and living wage movements.

LER 120   Contemporary Labor Problems   credit: 3 Hours.

Focuses on problems and challenges facing American workers and the U.S. labor movement. Topics include the deterioration of the labor-management "social contract" in recent decades; a review of labor and employment law; the health care crisis; globalization and cross-border union alliances; and union democracy.

LER 130   Intro Labr Wrkng Class History   credit: 3 Hours.

Do working people have a history worth studying? What does the history of the U.S. look like when viewed from the point of view of those who built the country? Introduces U.S. labor and working class history. Examines the conditions of life and work of the various groups of working people: enslaved, indentured, small farmers, but especially wage workers and their families from the civil War to the present. Studies the main collective actions workers have taken to protect and improve their lives and the organizations and social movements they created to do this. Students who complete LER 130 and want a more in-depth look at the subject should enroll in HIST 480.

LER 200   Globalization and Workers   credit: 3 Hours.

Is globalization good for working people in the United States and around the world? Globalization is the driving force in the world economy but it is also provoking tremendous debate and popular resistance. Students will learn the basics about globalization and its institutions from the perspective of workers' right in the U.S. and the Third World. Analyzes the debate over free trade and sweatshops, trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, and institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. Closely examines working conditions in several Third World countries, and explores the role of the global justice movement.

LER 210   Images of Labor in Film   credit: 3 Hours.

Uses feature-length film to take an in-depth look at key labor strikes and organizing drives from the 1910s through the 1980s. Students will view some of the most powerful films on worker and labor themes ever produced. Studies the work lives and labor unions of miners; railroad porters; packinghouse workers; textile workers; and farm workers. Discusses the meaning of the events depicted in the films by situating them in historical context with detailed readings; engage the debates raised in the films about labor organizing methods and strike strategies that are relevant to today's labor movement; reflect on issues of race, gender, class consciousness, working conditions, union goals, anti-communism, and labor-management relations raised in the films and readings; analyze how effectively the films, and Hollywood in general, portray workers and unions; and compare and contrast the films.

LER 220   The Media, Workers, and Unions   credit: 3 Hours.

Workers, unions, and how the news media tells their stories. Looks at the past, the present and future. Analyzes how these stories are told in the mainstream and independent news media in the U.S., and examines the Internet's explosion and impact on these stories. Looks at how blogs, online videos, citizen journalism, and the fast changing world of Internet communication has given voice to workers and their issues. Compares the print and online media with the work done in documentaries and the cinema. Looks at the global telling of these stories. Lastly, examines the ways that unions can better tell their stories.

LER 225   Labor Issues in Sports   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduces students to critical historical and contemporary labor issues in the sports industry. Despite popular notions of athletics as "only a game," the world of sports is an expansive global industry with a complex architecture of labor relations systems. Thanks to spectator sports' status as a pervasive form of mass entertainment, the industry also serves as an influential source of cultural meaning in the wider world of work. Day after day, the sports world is home to mass-mediated conversations about key labor issues ranging from unionization to workplace safety to sexual harassment.

LER 240   China's Labor Relations   credit: 3 Hours.

This course analyzes how China is reshaping the world economy, labor markets, unions, forms of worker resistance, and the lives of workers around the globe. We will examine China's transition from socialism to state capitalism; working conditions facing Chinese workers; evolving labor and employment relations; the role and function of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions; and worker protests and strikes demanding improved conditions.

LER 290   Introduction to Employment Law   credit: 3 Hours.

Addresses and critiques the content, interpretation, and applications of the laws that govern employer-employee relations in the American workplace. Explores the historical sources, underlying ideology, and current content of anti-discrimination and civil rights laws, of laws that seek to guarantee a safe and healthy workplace for all Americans, of laws that guarantee minimum wages and overtime pay, of legal protections of privacy on the job, of unemployment insurance and workers' compensation laws, and of laws that guarantee workers the right to collective action and collective bargaining.

LER 300   Workers, Unions, and Politics   credit: 3 Hours.

What is the meaning and impact of politics seen from the perspective of those at the bottom of the pyramid of political power rather than from the usual focus on the actions and perceptions of political elites? In what ways do workers become involved in politics? Under what circumstances are they likely to be successful in bringing about change? This course addresses these questions by exploring political power, political participation, and political change from a broad historical and cross-cultural perspective, but always focusing on a view of politics from the bottom up. The course analyzes the political economy of labor, and the labor movement's political influence in politics.

LER 320   Gender, Race, Class and Work   credit: 3 Hours.

Provides a historical and contemporary overview of the impact and interplay of gender, race, class and other issues of identity in the workplace. Topics include: pay gap, occupational segregation, workplace harassment, low wage work, and employment discrimination laws. The response of labor unions to identity issues will also be examined. Prerequisite: LER 100, LER 110 or one course that covers race or gender issues is required.

LER 330   Comparative Labor Relations   credit: 3 Hours.

Designed as an overview of comparative labor movements and labor relation systems. Develops a framework for understanding union formation and the development of industrial relations system in a variety of countries around the world. An emphasis will be placed on each country's interaction between unions and political organizations, national labor policies, the machinery for the resolution of workplace problems, the level of shop floor disturbances, bargaining coverage of employees, and the issues of workers' control. Also addresses how globalization has transformed the capacity of any nation's labor relations' system to respond to economic challenge and workplace conflicts. Examines the possibility of developing transnational union.

LER 410   Labor and the European Union   credit: 4 Hours.

Addresses the formation of European Union (EU) labor policy; the role of trade unions in EU member nations; worker immigration in the EU; diversity issues in the EU labor market and a comparative analysis of industrial relations in Europe. Same as EURO 410. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

LER 522   Government Regulation   credit: 4 Hours.

Focuses on federal and state legislation, court and agency rulings, and executive orders that regulate a wide range of private and public employment practices including: Title VII and Affirmative Action Compliance; American with Disabilities Act; drug-, HIV-, and genetic testing; Fair Labor Standards Act; Civil Service procedures; Equal Pay Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and employment-at-will; constitutional protection for employees, job-applicants, and others. Prerequisite: LER 547 or LER 591, or consent of instructor.

LER 523   Org Fundamentals for HR   credit: 4 Hours.

Increases students' effectiveness in analyzing and understanding organizations and the organizational context. It relies on the case method and focuses a number of important themes such as organization design; strategy; decision-making; and culture. In order to prepare students for the various transformations that they will experience in their careers, it examines many of these topics in the context of organizational change. Exposes students to basic ideas about key organizational topic - as well as a number of applications of these ideas - in order to give them a framework for organizing past experience. The topics covered do not offer a recipe for what to do in all situations, but rather give students a set of skills and different ways of thinking that can help them address novel problems they will face throughout their lives.

LER 542   Collective Bargaining   credit: 4 Hours.

Examination of: social values and social science concepts to develop a framework for explaining the basis and shape of collective bargaining as it has been practiced in the United States; government and law, unions, and employers as part of the development of this framework; the environment of collective bargaining with respect to the role of economics and bargaining structure; the negotiating process as the interactive basis for union-management relations; conflict and conflict resolution as part of the negotiating process; wage and other effects of collective bargaining as bargaining outcomes; contemporary changes in union management relations. Case materials and exercises may be used to supplement course materials. Same as ECON 542. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

LER 543   Workplace Dispute Resolution   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Examination of the use of procedures to resolve employment disputes in both union and nonunion workplaces; comparative analysis of grievance arbitration, interest arbitration, mediation, fact-finding, and combinations of these procedures; special emphasis given to the role of third party intervention. Same as ECON 543 and LAW 665. 3 professional hours. 4 graduate hours.

LER 545   Economics of Human Resources   credit: 4 Hours.

Study of the economics of personnel with the modern corporation. Topics include hiring, promotion, evaluation, discrimination, raiding, job definition, pay schemes, benefits, and design of work. Same as EPOL 575 and HRD 534. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit. Prerequisite: LER 593 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

LER 556   Industrial Relations Theory   credit: 4 Hours.

Integrated analysis of the principles of industrial relations through the study of the works of the major theorists and their critics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

LER 557   Human Resources Theory   credit: 4 Hours.

Continuation of LER 556. Focuses on contemporary research in human resource management and related fields.

LER 558   Faculty-Student Workshop   credit: 0 to 4 Hours.

Training and experience for Ph.D. students in the application of social science and industrial relations theory and research methodology to contemporary industrial relations problems through presentation and discussion of faculty and student research. Ph.D. students are required to make presentations and to participate in workshop discussions during the entire period of their campus residency. Approved for letter and S/U grading.

LER 559   Micro Research Methods   credit: 4 Hours.

Provides doctoral students a foundation for conducting independent, scholarly micro research (i.e., individuals or small groups as the primary unit of analysis) by addressing the components of the research process. This foundation for conducting independent research is based on the research process as an open system of interconnected choices that unfold sequentially: (1) Choosing and framing a research question, (2) Choosing an hypothesis to address the research question, (3) Choosing a Strategy and Design, (4) Choosing modes for treating constructs, (5) Choosing Forms for Converting Data into Observations, (6) Choosing procedures to analyze data, and (7) Choosing conclusions for interpreting results. Prerequisite: Doctoral degree student in LER, Department of Psychology, Economics, College of Business, College of Education. Master's degree students who are considering a doctoral degree program subject to instructor approval.

LER 561   Compensation Systems   credit: 4 Hours.

Compensation theory and practice. Course addresses the theoretical and practical issues associated with the design of effective compensation systems. The design phases include establishing internal equity, external equity, and individual equity. Budgeting and administration are also addressed. Case analyses and computer simulations may be used to supplement course materials.

LER 562   HR Planning and Staffing   credit: 4 Hours.

Examines conceptual issues, policies, and practices relating to the attraction, selection, development, and planning for the most effective utilization of human resources.

LER 564   HR Training and Development   credit: 2 Hours.

Provides students a firm understanding of human resource training and development systems in today's business environment. A constant theme setting the back drop for this course will be on the various kinds of change facing organizations and how these changes relate to human resource training and development. Aspiring HR professionals will gain essential knowledge to effectively manage employee training and development systems in a variety of companies.

LER 565   HR Management and Strategy   credit: 4 Hours.

Designed to provide integration across the specific functional areas of the human resources management (HRM) field, while at the same time demonstrating the linkages horizontally within HRM and vertically with strategic management of the firm. This case-focused course places emphasis on human resources issues of strategic importance to the organization. Same as BADM 512. Prerequisite: One prior course from the Organizational Behavior and Personnel Management distribution subject area list (in the MHRIR degree requirements for the graduate degree in Labor and Employment Relations).

LER 566   International HR Management   credit: 4 Hours.

Human resource management issues examined from the perspective of the multinational firm. Topics include globalization and human resource strategy, management and the structure of multinational firms, dealing with intercultural differences, selecting employees for foreign assignments, training and developing expatriate employees, evaluation and compensation of employees in international assignments. Individual and group projects. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

LER 567   Negotiation in HR Decisions   credit: 2 Hours.

General survey course concerning the strategies and tactics of bargaining and negotiation, with special emphasis on applications in human resource management contexts. Topics covered include: the structure of negotiated outcomes; integrative bargaining tactics; distributive bargaining tactics; negotiation planning; power, persuasion and influence; communication; negotiating in teams and groups; negotiating using 3rd parties (arbitrators, mediators, agents); cross-cultural negotiations. Students will discuss negotiation issues and build negotiation skills through a series of experiential exercises and cases. Credit is not given for both LER 567 and MBA 505 (Sections W1 and W2: Managerial Negotiations). Prerequisite: Graduate standing. An introductory course in social psychology or organizational behavior is preferred but not required.

LER 568   Firm Performance and HR   credit: 4 Hours.

The purpose of this course is to enable students to understand some basic ideas about and measures of firm performance with heavy emphasis on the role of human resource managers. Students will gain an understanding of how human resource professionals fit into the organization, structure, and function of business firms. Many basic ideas from the field of finance will be studied. The course covers theoretical ideas and has many empirical, policy, and practitioner-relevant applications, all with the goal of providing human resource managers fundamental financial analysis tools to enable them to function effectively in their post-graduate corporate workplaces.

LER 569   Power & Influence in HRM   credit: 2 Hours.

Designed to help prospective human resource managers learn how to use power and influence as effective tools for understanding the surroundings in which they will be working with and managing people, and achieving the goals that they set for themselves. It provides frameworks and practical tools that allow students to make sense of on-the-job learning experiences and equip them with basic diagnostic and action-planning skills that they can use at different points in their careers - and to consider difficult ethical questions in the process. Prepares students to get things done in the real world, where personalities and office politics sometimes hinder rather than help them.

LER 570   Leadership for HR Managers   credit: 2 Hours.

In contemporary organizations, the HR function is often called on to serve a variety of leadership roles. Thus, HR managers will not only need to learn how to utilize and improve their leadership skills in different and changing contexts, but also how to help other employees become effective leaders. The goals of this course are (1) to analyze and discuss a number of key frameworks that will provide students with knowledge of leadership in different types of organizations, and (2) to provide students with practical tools to help them make sense of their own on-the-job experiences and equip them with basic action-planning skills that they can use on the job.

LER 580   Internship   credit: 0 Hours.

Full or part-time practice of human resources or employment relations in an off-campus government, corporate or not-for-profit environment. Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated in separate terms. Prerequisite: Must be a student in the LER program.

LER 590   Individual Topics   credit: 0 to 8 Hours.

Students in labor and industrial relations may register for this unit with the consent of the curriculum adviser and the adviser under whom the student will perform individual study or research. Such individual work may include special study in a subject matter for which no course is available or an individual research project, including on-the-job research in industry, which is not being undertaken for a thesis. 0 to 8 graduate hours. No professional credit. Approved for Letter and S/U grading. May be repeated if topics vary; unlimited credit hours for graduate and professional students.

LER 591   Employment Relations Systems   credit: 4 Hours.

General framework for the analysis of employment relationships. Topics include industrial relations theory, the American system of collective bargaining, intercountry system differences, and human resource management strategies and practices. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

LER 593   Quantitative Methods in LER   credit: 4 Hours.

Application of statistical methods to problems in human resources and industrial relations. Analysis and presentation of results using computer software. Covers statistical techniques through analysis of variance and multiple regression. Prerequisite: Any elementary statistics course.

LER 594   Tutorial Seminar   credit: 0 to 4 Hours.

Research experience for Master's students in carrying out a problem solving project from formulation to written report in a chosen area of labor and industrial relations. Each student selects an individual topic with the approval and guidance of a faculty member and participates in a Tutorial Workshop. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. Prerequisite: Completion of no fewer than 24 graduate hours of LER course work.

LER 595   Managing Diversity Globally   credit: 4 Hours.

In a global economy workplace diversity is not a trend; it is a reality faced by corporate leaders, human resource professionals and management consultants. Within the US, immigration, migration, and gender and racial differences have been major trends shaping workplace composition. Globalization places additional pressures on managing workplace diversity effectively. In this setting, training managers and human resource professionals to manage differences and adapt to multiple national and cultural contexts is an imperative. Course provides an in-depth understanding of how managers and HR professionals can be effective in not only managing diversity in a global context, but also in leveraging global diversity as a competitive advantage. By the end of this course students will have a holistic appreciation of the tools necessary to implement effective diversity management practices for a globally inclusive workplace.

LER 597   Employee Motivation & Perfmnce   credit: 4 Hours.

Managing and motivating employees effectively is one of the most complex and challenging issues facing companies today. While business leaders acknowledge the need for implementing effective performance management systems, recent studies indicate that an overwhelming majority of performance management systems are unsuccessful. Takes a strategic approach to employee motivation and performance starting with a firm level view to reviewing current approaches to employee motivation and performance management. Aims at providing students with practical and conceptual tools that will aid them in future endeavors to design and implement employee development and performance management systems. Format includes in-class discussions, case studies and individual assignments and papers.

LER 598   Impl High Perf Work Systems   credit: 4 Hours.

Intensive analysis of all aspects of high performance work systems, including work design, reward systems, training, team operations, lean/six sigma systems, and labor-management partnership. Special focus on skills and principles for effective implementation, in ways that advance employee well-being and to organizational effectiveness.

LER 599   Thesis Seminar   credit: 0 to 16 Hours.

For all students writing theses in LER at the MHRIR and Ph.D. levels. May be repeated. Approved for S/U grading only.