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Why Study for a Master's Degree in Labor Studies?

Given the challenges labor leaders, staff, and activists face in today's economy, why take the time to study for a Master's degree in Labor Studies in the Union Leadership and Administration (ULA) program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst? Shouldn't you be out there organizing new members and getting ready for the next round of bargaining? With the battle that labor is in right now, how can your union afford the time or money to have you engaged in advanced study?

1. Learn the Latest Approaches and Techniques

Unions are now using many exciting, innovative new approaches in a number of areas, including organizing and strategic bargaining campaigns. Our faculty all have a unique combination of academic training and union experience, so exploring the latest, most innovative approaches in class with them can have a direct and immediate impact on what you are doing in your union.

2. Explore New Areas of Expertise

Union leaders, staff, and activists are increasingly being asked to have expertise in a number of areas. Our Master's program in Labor Studies provides a quick and cost effective way to expand the knowledge base of your union. Folks involved in collective bargaining can benefit by coming up to speed in organizing, and organizers can be more effective after studying basic corporate research.

3. Gain a Broader, Strategic Perspective

In addition to learning new techniques, having an opportunity to step back and think more broadly about the issues can also help you reinvigorate your approach to work and your union. Being exposed to new ideas in class, as well as from your colleagues from a variety of other unions, will help you gain this wider perspective.

4. Put Your New Knowledge to Work Right Away

We've designed the ULA program so that you put your knowledge to work immediately for your union. For example, in our Labor Research class, you learn about survey research and strategic corporate research. In their very first semester, some students have conducted important surveys for their locals, while others have researched employers in preparation for bargaining and organizing. In our organizing class, students frequently design organizing plans for their local or analyze organizing victories or defeats. We use this approach in most of our courses, allowing students to provide important services to their unions right away.

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