Indiana University Northwest
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Department of Labor Studies

Department of Labor Studies

Core Courses

Core Courses



L100 Survey of Unions and Collective Bargaining (3 cr.)

This course includes coverage of historical development, labor law basics, and contemporary issues.  It also discusses a survey of labor unions in the United States; focusing on their organization and their representational, economic, and political activities.

L101 American Labor History (3 cr.)

This course explores the struggles of working people to achieve dignity and security from social, economic, and political perspectives.  It also explores a survey of the origin and development of unions and the labor movement from colonial times to the present.  

L104 Labor History (3cr.)

This course serves as an orientation for the study of labor history.  It explores both critical and historical methodologies based on primary and secondary sources, biases, and interpretations.  Discussions focus on selective questions and events.   

L110 Introduction to Labor Studies: Labor and Society (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary and advocacy approach of labor studies.  Exploring labor’s role in society, the class will look at how unions have changed the lives of working people and contributed to better social policies.  Discussions will highlight the relationship of our work lives to our non-work lives and will look at U.S. labor relations in a comparative framework.

L190 The Labor Studies Degree (1 cr.)

Required for all Labor Studies program majors.  This course provides an introduction to the Labor Studies degree and to the knowledge and skills needed by students to progress toward a degree in a reasonable time frame.  Students will learn how to build a plan of study that takes advantage of both credit for prior learning and new learning opportunities. 

L200 Survey of Employment Law (3 cr.)

This course explores statutes and common-law actions protecting income, working conditions, and rights of workers.  Topics include workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, fair labor standards, Social Security, retirement income protection, and privacy and other rights. 

L201 Labor Law (3 cr.)

This course reviews a survey of the law governing labor-management relations.  Topics include the legal framework of collective bargaining, problems in the administration and enforcement of agreements, and protection of individual employee rights. 

L203 Labor and the Political System (3 cr.)

This course examines federal, state, and local governmental effects on workers, unions, and labor-management relations; political goals; influences on union choices of strategies and modes of political participation, past and present; relationships with community and other groups. 

L205 Contemporary Labor Problems (3 cr.)

This course examines some of the major problems confronting society, workers, and the labor movement.  Topics may include automation, unemployment, international trade, environmental problems, minority and women’s rights, community relations, and changing government policies. 

L210 Workplace Discrimination and Fair Employment (3 cr.)

This course examines policies and practices that contribute to workplace discrimination and those designed to eliminate it.  It explores effects of job discrimination and occupational segregation.  It analyzes Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and related topics in relation to broader strategies for addressing discrimination. 

L220 Grievance Representation (3 cr.)

This course looks at union representation in the workplace.  It evaluates uses of grievance procedures to address problems and administer the collective bargaining agreement. It also explores analyses of relevant labor law and the logic applied by arbitrators to grievance decisions. Students learn about the identification, research, presentation, and writing of grievance cases. 

L230 Labor and the Economy (3 cr.)

This course analyses aspects of the political economy of labor and the role of organized labor within it.  It emphases the effect on workers, unions, collective bargaining of unemployment, investment policy, changes in technology and corporate structure.  It also explores patterns of union political and bargaining responses. 

L231 Globalization and Labor (3 cr.)

This course explores the globalization of trade, production, and migration and the effects of these processes on American workers. Through reading, discussion, and problem formation, students will critically think about the ways global processes and policies impact American workers’ daily lives, analyze existing historical and current justifications for offshore production and the dismantling of barriers to trade and investment, and explore alternatives to these policies.  

L240 Occupational Health and Safety (3 cr.)

This course reviews elements and issues of occupational health and safety.  It emphases the union’s role in the implementation of workplace health and safety programs, worker and union rights, hazard recognition techniques, and negotiated and statutory remedies—in particular the OSHA Act of 1970.

L250 Collective Bargaining (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes development and organization of collective bargaining in the United States, including union preparation for negotiations; bargaining patterns and practices; strategy and tactics; economic and legal considerations. 

L251 Collective Bargaining Laboratory (1-3 cr.)

This course provides collective bargaining simulations and other participatory experiences in conjunction with L250.  L250 is either a prerequisite or a core requisite. 

L255 Unions in State and Local Government (3 cr.)

This course explores union organization and representation of state and municipal government employees, including patterns in union structure, collective bargaining, grievance representation, and applicable law. 

L260 Leadership and Representation (3 cr.)

This course evaluates organizational leadership issues for union, community, and other advocate organizations.  It analyzes leadership styles, membership recruitment, and leadership development.  It examines the role of leaders in internal governance and external affairs, including committee building, delegation, negotiations, and coalition building.

L270 Union Government and Organization (3 cr.)

This course provides an analysis of the growth, composition, structure, behavior, and governmental processes of U.S. labor organizations, from the local to the national federation level.  It considers the influence on unions of industrial and political environments; to organizational behavior in different types of unions; and to problems in union democracy. 

L280 Union Organizing (3 cr.)

This course explores various approaches and problems in private- and public-sector organizing.  Traditional approaches are evaluated in light of structural changes in labor markets and workforce demographics.  Topics range from targeting and assessments to committee building and leadership development. 

L285 Assessment Project (1 cr.)

This is a capstone experience for associate degree students.  


Other Courses


L199 Portfolio Development Workshop (1 cr.)

Emphasis for this course is placed on developing learning portfolios as foundation documents for academic self-assessment and planning and as applications for self-acquired competency (SAC) credit.  This course applies only as elective credit to labor studies degrees.

L290 Topics in Labor Studies (1-3 cr.)  

This is a variable-title course.  L290 can be repeated for credit with different subjects.  The transcript will show a different subtitle each time the course is taken.  Some courses focus on contemporary or special areas of labor studies.  Others are directed toward specific categories of employees and labor organizations.  Inquire at Labor Studies offices.

L299 Self-Acquired Competency in Labor Studies (1-15 cr.)

See this bulletin for a description of Self-Acquired Competency.