labor at wayne

For over 60 years, Wayne State University has been a resource to workers, labor, and the employment and labor relations community. Labor@Wayne is the home base for these efforts.  Renamed in 2009, Labor@Wayne built on the past efforts of the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations, Labor Studies programs, and the Labor School to carry forward the commitment of Wayne State University to research, educate, and promote labor and employment relations, knowledge about the workplace and workers, and understanding the history, current state, and future of the labor movement in the United States and globally.

We at Labor@Wayne are dedicated to supporting labor research and education and to providing union and community programs designed to promote and support effective labor relations and union representation.

Labor@Wayne houses the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues, a program which fosters and recognizes faculty and student research through annual awards and public lectures.  The Center sponsors a range of conference workshops and events designed to bring labor, business, government and community leaders together.  Labor@Wayne also provides labor education to address the problems of a postindustrial age and coordinate both graduate and undergraduate degrees in employment and labor relations.  The Labor School offers a certificate program that provides union workers an introduction to labor history and economics, labor law, and applied skill courses.

Located in the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, an archive originally built by the United Auto Workers (UAW), Labor@Wayne delves into the past of the labor movement, explores the present moment in its complexity, and works to prepare the next generation of scholars and workers for the future.


Gayle L. McCreedy Memorial Scholarship in History

A woman

Gayle McCreedy was an ardent supporter of Labor@Wayne and all that it houses at Wayne State University. She served the Department of History for thirty-five years as Academic Services Officer and Academic Advisor, among her many other roles. For Labor@Wayne, from an early point in our North American Labor History Conference, she became involved in administering it in tandem with a faculty coordinator and committee. Gayle and her work with us, like much of her work at WSU, was deeply appreciated and will be sincerely missed. She was a good friend to our staff and our WSU community as a whole. 

The History Department has decided to establish a scholarship in Gayle’s memory specifically to help history majors finish their degree with the goal of reaching the $25,000 needed to endow it. We see this as a fitting way to help carry on her legacy of dedication to student success and hope that you do as well. If you would like to contribute to the scholarship, you can do so in the following ways: 

  1. For online donations, the dedicated page for the Gayle L. McCreedy Memorial Scholarship in History is: or Wayne State University · GiveCampus.
  2. For mail-in donations, please send a check made out to Wayne State University to the following address. Please be sure to include on the memo line either “Gayle McCreedy Memorial Scholarship” or the index number 222903.  
    1. Wayne State University Gift Processing 

      PO Box 441970 

      Detroit, MI 48244-1970 

  3. For phone donations, please contact Wayne State’s Office of Gift Processing at (313) 577-2263 and specify that you would like to give to the “Gayle McCreedy Memorial Scholarship.”

Winter 2024 Semester Courses:

Employment and Labor Relations:

  • ELR 2500 Introduction to Labor Studies
    • Introduces students to labor and employment relations, and how to successfully navigate them in the twenty-first-century workplace. Learn the essential nature, evolution, and purpose of labor.
  • ELR 4500 Applied Labor Studies
    • Practical training for students in various labor relations specialties, such as collective bargaining or labor law, for future employment and/or union work. Consult instructor, specific topic changes every semester.
  • ELR 4500 AS:Labor through the Arts
    • Practical training for students in various labor relations specialties, such as collective bargaining or labor law, for future employment and/or union work. Specific topic: Labor through the Arts.
  • ELR/LBS 4990 Directed Study
    • Students may decide that there is a particular area of study that they would like to pursue.
  • ELR 7400 Labor Relations Law in North America
    • Students will research, reflect on, discuss, and analyze labor relations practices within North America.
  • ELR 7430/PS 6340 Public Sector Labor Relations
    • History, present functions, problems and current controversies surrounding public sector unions.
  • ELR 7600 Internship in Employment and Labor Relations
    • Experience gained through working closely with those in the field of Employment and Labor Relations, students will transfer their learned skills from the classroom to a practical setting.
  • MGT 7750/ELR 7750 Labor Issues and Collective Bargaining
    • Development and maintenance of employee-management relations, including employee and management rights and responsibilities, administration and creation of employment contracts and handbooks, and management of employee attitudes and behaviors. Emphasis on union and management perspectives of the employment relationship.
  • ELR 7990 Directed Study
    • Students may decide that there is a particular area of study that they would like to pursue.
  • ELR 7999 Master's Essay Direction
    • Choose a topic for a paper about employment and labor relations issues to explore in-depth under the supervision of a WSU ELR advisor. Papers will need to be carefully planned and approved by ELR advisor.
      • Instructor: Student's Advisor/Varies
  • ELR 8500 Strategic Analysis of North American Labor and Human Resources Issues
    • Learn how to research and analyze the trends within North American labor and human resource issues within this course.

Labor School Certificate Courses:

  • 1/8/24-2/12/24
    • Intro to Collective Bargaining
      • This course introduces the collective bargaining process, applicable laws, and subjects of bargaining to students for use in their everyday work lives.
        • Instructors: Kerry Miller and Dennis Albers
    • Effective Leadership
      • This introductory Leadership course discusses the skills and knowledge every leader should have as well as the important role effective leadership plays in moving an organization forward.
        • Instructors: Donna Jackson and Brenda Moon
  • 2/12/24-3/19/24
    • Power and Politics
      • In the Power in Politics course, students learn how the legislative process works and the importance of civic engagement. Students will also compare the interests of business and labor, and discuss how lobbying is used to influence government decision-makers.
        • Instructors: Andrea Hunter and Jerome Buckley
    • Economics for Workers
      • This Economics course provides students with an introduction to economic concepts that may impact their lives as workers (i.e. supply and demand, globalization, immigration, and climate change) and provides a space to discuss how to create a more equitable society.
        • Instructors: Shauntee Saunders and Gayle Hamilton
  • 3/19/24-4/23/24
    • Leading a Diverse Organization
      • The Leading a Diverse Organization course examines the growing diversity of the U.S. workforce, identifies the challenges and opportunities of leading a diverse organization, and discusses how to promote respect, inclusion, and equity within workplaces and labor organizations. Students will learn how to engage and thrive with diversity as leaders.
        • Instructors: Victor Green and Gayle Hamilton
    • Building the Union
      • The Building the Union course examines best practices used to engage people in to action, how to build an effective and diverse member-to-member communication network, and establish effective labor and community coalitions.
        • Instructors: Christopher Smith and Dawn Bennett

Advanced Labor Academy Certificate Courses

  • 1/8/24-2/12/24
    • Media Matters
      • This advanced labor media course teaches strategies and techniques on how to become an effective storyteller. Students will learn how to develop and communicate a powerful pro-union message in print, electronic, and social media formats as well as learn best practices in media outlets when making presentations to union members or the general public.
        • Instructor: Lou Grieco
  • 2/12/24-3/19/24
    • Advanced Grievance Handling
      • In the Advanced Grievance Handling course, students will discuss the principle of "just cause", the legal obligation to bargain, examine contract language, review past practice issues, and learn how to prepare for arbitration. This knowledge and skill set will assist students in preparation for self and union activism in the workplace.
        • Instructor: Noah Cope
  • 3/19/24-4/23/24
    • Powerful Presentations
      • In this course, students will examine the elements of a successful presentation and different types of presentations. Students will also be provided with an opportunity to create effective presentations and be evaluated by their peers and instructor in order to develop their communication skills and confidence in presenting to groups of people.
        • Instructor: Gayle Hamilton

View our Labor School Instructors