Mission and strategic plan

Vision and Mission

Labor@Wayne, established in January 2009, aspires to be an international leader in research, education, and outreach to promote high-standard workplaces through effective union representation. It houses the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues, Labor Studies Center, Master of Arts in Employment and Labor Relations, and Employment and Labor Relations undergraduate major. Located in the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, which was built by the United Auto Workers, Labor@Wayne sponsors conferences and events to bring labor, business, government, and community leaders together to meet the workplace challenges of our times.

VISION: To be a nationally and internationally recognized program that promotes high quality workplaces through more effective labor-management collaborative initiatives and employment relations practices.

MISSION: To educate the next generation of employment and labor relations professionals and to promote best workplace practices through convening representatives of labor, business, the community, and government to share knowledge and to develop education programs and products that serve this purpose.

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

Started in January 2009, Labor@Wayne, which is housed in the University's office of Provost, includes the various academic and non-credit labor-related units within Wayne State University (WSU).  Specifically, it includes the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues (Fraser Center), the Labor Studies Center (LSC), the undergraduate Employment and Labor Relations (ELR) major, and the Master of Arts in Employment and Labor Relations (MAELR), which was formerly the Master of Arts in Industrial Relations (MAIR).  These four sub-units report to Marick F. Masters, who was appointed as the inaugural director of Labor@Wayne in January 2009. 

A variety of external and internal changes have occurred which necessitate developing a new strategic plan for Labor@Wayne. This plan reflects input from and discussions with Labor@Wayne staff, benchmarking of our units to other universities' equivalent programs, and consultation with representatives in labor, business, the community, and the dispute resolution field.  Several relevant factors about the changing external and internal environments guided the development of this plan:

  • First, Labor@Wayne has suffered several budget cuts in this time period, resulting in the loss of critical personnel.  These cutbacks have reduced our capacity to fulfill our mission, grow our programs, and generate additional revenue through the outreach functions of the Labor Studies Center.  [We have creatively compensated for these major cutbacks in order to expand our array of revenue-generating programs and products while we reposition our academic and non-academic programs for growth.]
  • The changing nature of the workforce in general and labor-management relations in particular requires a shift in our focus.  The labor movement is in continual decline, which challenges our efforts to expand enrollment.  We have sought to meet this challenge by extending our reach through online options in the non-credit programs offered though the LSC.  We have also revised the curriculum at the undergraduate level and changed the name of the program to Employment and Labor Relations (ELR) from Labor Studies.  The new curriculum and associated minor in ELR will be launched once the program is relocated within the University. Our new curriculum, as well as modifications we plan for the curriculum in the Master of Arts in Employment and Labor Relations, cover a broader array of workplace topics and emphasize professional and career development in the fields of human resource management, labor relations, and dispute resolution.
  • In this environment, labor organizations face enormous challenges to modernize and professionalize their operations in order to serve their members, which creates opportunities for us to exploit with new programs and products;
  • The increasing diversity of the workforce offers opportunities for us to create a niche market of services to help organizations capitalize on diversity and to reduce the potential conflicts that a more diverse workplace might bring.

With these changes in mind, we have  modified the vision and mission statements to make them more relevant.  Our strategic plan sets forth the major goals for Labor@Wayne  and an execution strategy for meeting the goals over the next several years.  These are "stretch" goals, particularly in light of our lean operation, but we are committed to making the maximum effort to achieve them.  We have also aligned out strategic goals with the University's Strategic Plan 2016-2021.

Supporting our Mission

The Wayne State University's Labor@Wayne appreciates your financial support.  Your donations make it possible to fulfill our mission to build better workplaces through effective union representation.  Specifically, your generous gifts enable us to:

  • Provide scholarships to students interesting furthering their education in labor studies and employment relations;
  • Provide tuition assistance to union members who want to attend the Labor School and various other labor education programs;
  • Support conferences and events to generate and publicize information about the role of unions in society and how workplaces can be made better;and
  • Conduct research on labor and workplace practices and trends.

Questions on gift giving please contact:

Heidi Coates
Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Foundation Relations