Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School
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A Short History of the Harvard Trade Union Program: 1942-2007


During the founding era of the Harvard Trade Union Program, it was commonly called "an experiment." For much of the early twentieth century, workers' educational movements had themselves greeted the idea of study at elite universities with skepticism and sometimes derision. More>>>

Mission

Men and women who are active in the labor movement today face unprecedented change and profound challenges in providing leadership and advocacy for working people. Dramatic changes in the world economy and the nature, size and composition of the workplace demand new approaches to organizing, bargaining and union administration.

Since 1942, the Harvard Trade Union Program has prepared union activists to meet the challenge of dynamic leadership within their unions and society. Today, the program helps union leaders develop keener analytical, managerial and problem solving skills as well as discover ways to deepen public understanding of the value and importance of labor unions.

The Program

The Harvard Trade Union Program is an intensive 6-week executive training program designed for trade union leaders. It is comparable to the advanced education that Harvard University offers to executive level individuals in Business and Government. It teaches the essential skills for the management and leadership of unions, as well as providing a unique opportunity to explore key issues for the labor movement.

Participants will:

  • Gain insights into the complex political, social and economic forces that shape their operating environment.
  • Exchange perspectives with faculty who are internationally recognized for their expertise on labor issues.
  • Develop relationships among people doing similar work in the national and international labor communities.
  • Interact with future leaders in the corporate and public sectors by attending classes at the country's most prestigious graduate schools of business, education and government.