AFL-CIO President John Sweeney Speaks at Ceremony for UMass Amherst Labor Center

AMHERST, Mass. - John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, addressed the first class of graduates from the Union Leadership and Administration in Labor Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Labor Relations and Research Center at ceremonies held Friday, June 5, in Washington, D.C.

The distance-learning master’s degree program, begun by UMass in 1995, is designed for union officers, staff, and activists, and is run in cooperation with the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, the AFL-CIO’s education center, according to Tom Juravich, director of the UMass Labor Relations and Research Center. Juravich and Susan Schurman, executive director of the Meany Center will also speak at the ceremony.

The 10 students who have completed the program attended five 10-day residencies on the Amherst campus, taking a variety of graduate courses, including those on labor law, labor history, and the future of the American labor movement, and also completed an internship requirement. Juravich says this is an important milestone for the UMass labor center.

"We are thrilled to have our first class graduate from the union leadership and administration master’s program," Juravich says. "This is the only program of its kind in the country and it is putting the labor center and the University of Massachusetts on the map." The first group of graduates includes representatives of a wide variety of labor unions from across the country.