University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Labor Education

On UW-Madison campus, School for Workers labor education classes are offered year-round and last from two to five days. Every program is a high-quality noncredit course taught by university faculty, typically intended for union members, officers, and staff seeking to advance their knowledge and skills. Program topics vary to meet the needs of individual workers, labor movement organizations, and other worker oriented groups.


  • Jan 14-15 | Web tools for union effectiveness

    Web tools for union effectiveness

    Developing streamlined internal communication systems

    Jan 14-15 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $490

    A hands-on class, delving participants into using online resources to enhance their effectiveness. We will cover the Google Suite of applications as well as other online resources and learn to build a streamlined internal communication system for your leadership and members utilizing Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, and Hangouts. Students are encouraged to bring their own laptops, or one can be provided onsite. Class size limited to 20 participants.


  • Feb 04-05 | Labor and employment law

    Labor and employment law

    Knowing your rights as a 21st-century worker

    Feb 4-5 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $490

    A critical look at the current state of public and private sector labor laws, workers’ rights under the laws, and participant exercises to prepare for worker-initiated enforcement. Topics include:

    • National Labor Relations Act
    • Supreme Court Janus ruling
    • Collective protective activity for workers
    • Anti-discrimination statues
    • Workers’ compensation
    • Wage and hour laws
    • Health and safety in the workplace

    Upon registration, please notify the coordinator of the specific legal areas you would like to see addressed. This class will not address the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which are addressed in a separate class taking place February 6-7. Register for the Labor and Employment Law class as well as FMLA and ADA class to receive a discounted rate of $825 for both.


  • Feb 06-07 | Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Applying and enforcing individual employment laws

    Feb 6-7 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $490

    A comprehensive FMLA and ADA class addressing the requirements, application, regulations, and implementation of the acts. Participants will be prepared in knowing and enforcing these rights in the workplace with an in-depth exploration of the legislation that impacts our society, workplaces, and each of us as workers. Participants are encouraged to also register for the February 4-5 Labor and Employment Law class to address additional legal areas. Individuals who register for both Labor and Employment Law and FMLA and ADA classes will receive the discounted rate of $825.


  • Feb 25-27 | Internal organizing

    Internal Organizing

    Reinvigorating collective strength

    Feb 25-27 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $650

    A crucial educational program for any union—especially those seeking to adapt to “open shop” or “Right to Work.” Reinvigorate your union with successful strategies and fundamental principles for membership engagement. Learn how to identify and develop new activists, and apply benchmarks and assessments to test the strength of your organizing work. You will learn how to change the “What’s the union done for me lately?” mindset into a more comprehensive sense of collective strength.


  • Mar 18-21 | Dispute resolution and the arbitration process

    Dispute resolution and the arbitration process

    Effectively resolving disputes and protecting your members

    Mar 18-21 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $825

    Effectively resolving disputes—including utilizing the contractual grievance and arbitration process—is vital for union representatives, stewards, and members. Explore methods of dispute resolution such as:

    • Informal resolution
    • Joint labor-management meetings
    • Negotiations
    • Community engagement
    • Mediation of claims
    • Collective activity

    Participants will access tools to interpret collective bargaining agreements, write effective grievances, and prepare participants for the grievance process. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to practice new skills through a mock case before an arbitrator.


  • Apr 15-17 | Engaging community and fostering diversity

    Engaging community and fostering diversity

    Advancing successful strategies in today’s dynamic workforce

    Apr 15-17 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $635

    An introductory class discussing changing workforce demographics, recruitment tools to reach a larger pool of potential workers and members, and how to contribute to new workers’ success in a dynamic workplace. The class includes a look at all aspects of diversity (age, ability, family status, etc.); an introductory examination of how to enact an organizational climate survey and diversity assessment; and explores community outreach and partnership building to strengthen worker protections and rights.


  • May 13-15 | Essentials of bargaining

    Essentials of bargaining

    Preparing and adapting for positive outcomes

    May 13-15 | 8:30am – 4:30pm | Class fee: $635

    A comprehensive class providing an overview of the entire collective bargaining process. We begin with a focus on factors affecting collective bargaining outcomes. The class goes on to introduce strategic and tactical planning as part of collective bargaining, addressing key labor laws, bargaining health care and benefits, and utilizing the strength of the rank and file membership. The class also introduces contract costing and research methodologies.



  • Sep 25-28 | Worker's compensation

    Worker’s compensation

    Sep 25-28 | T-TH, 8:30am – 4:30pm | F, 8:30am – 12:30pm

    Class fee: $715

    This 3 1/2-day immersion in worker’s compensation addresses Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation law and the process for filing claims. Hear from representatives from the Department of Workforce Development, a claims specialist, and attorneys with expertise representing workers before the Department of Workforce Development. This comprehensive course equips union representatives to effectively assist their members.
    You will learn:
    • Changes to Wisconsin state law
    • Injured workers’ rights and responsibilities
    • Employers’ rights and obligations
    • WC administration, resources, claims processes, and forms – from medical release consent to hearing appearance application
    • WC experiences from other participants, changes in work environments, employer expectations, and legal requirements that challenge unions to stay up to date
    Registration Deadline:

    Wednesday, September 05, 2018

  • Oct 08-10 | I just got elected, now what?

    I just got elected – now what?

    Oct 8-10 | 8:30am — 4:30pm

    Class fee: $630

    What does every newly-elected union leader need to know to be effective right from the start? This class provides the answers. Whether you are a new president, business manager, secretary, treasurer, board member, trustee, steward, or even simply a member who wants a better understanding of how your union functions, this program is for you.
    The subjects we will discuss include:
    • Qualities of Effective Leaders
    • Goal Setting and Strategic Thinking
    • How to Build Union Capacity
    • Essentials of Labor Law
    • Building Strength Through Inclusion and Equity
    • Effective Meetings
    • Union Communications Strategies
    Registration deadline:

    Monday, September 24, 2018

  • Oct 11-12 | Financial officer training

    Financial officer training

    Oct 11-12 | 8:30am — 4:30pm

    Class fee: $480

    This program is designed specifically for union financial officers, new treasurers, financial secretaries, trustees, and other union officers. The class covers record-keeping “best practices” to help you comply with the requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act and the regulations from the Department of Labor.
    Beginning with a course overview and the basic responsibilities of key union positions, the 2-day course covers:
    • 10 steps in a successful audit preparation
    • Effective recordkeeping and potential pitfalls
    • LM online filing system
    • Audit exercise for hands-on practice
    Registration deadline:

    Thursday, September 27, 2018

  • Oct 22-24 | Building trades essentials

    Building trades essentials

    Oct 22-24 | 8:30am — 4:30pm

    Class fee: $630

    Covering a myriad of topics, this new three-day class is intended to specifically assist union members in the building trades. The course will include instruction and discussion on bargaining in the trades and how this differs from traditional labor organizations; engaging your membership and growing your union in a Right to Work Environment; the legalities of strikes, how to avoid so-called secondary activity under the NLRA, and other legal topics specific to the trades; as well as methods of dispute resolution. We will also address jurisdictional disputes and how unions can better work together on work assignment.

    Further, at this time when most locations are experiencing a strong construction economy, we will discuss workplace culture and methods your unions can use to effectuate positive change in engaging new members and the workforce of the future.

    Finally, we will address union communication and public relations, in order to enhance positive community partnerships. From new trade unionists to veteran building trade union representatives, all will gain insights to better serve your members and your union.

    Registration deadline :

    Monday, October 08, 2018

  • Nov 12-16 | Time study

    Time study

    Nov 12-16 | M-TH: 8:30am – 4:30pm | F: 8:30am – 12:30pm

    Class fee: $840

    This 4 1/2-day institute provides participants with a working knowledge of the various systems used to establish a fair day’s work as well as incentive production standards. This course explains the theories, assumptions, and applications of stopwatch time study. The program includes examples from manufacturing, warehouse, food processing, and both individual and group line standard problems.

    Participants will conduct stopwatch time studies and perform the steps required to calculate production standards. Other systems of work measurement, including standard data, predetermined motion-time systems, work sampling, and computerized work measurement are also discussed. The institute also covers strategies for handling standards grievances and negotiating contract language related to work measurement and wage incentives.

    Registration Deadline :

    Monday, October 29, 2018

  • Dec 03-05 | Essentials of bargaining

    Essentials of bargaining

    Dec 3-5 | 8:30am — 4:30pm

    Class fee: $630

    This comprehensive course provides an overview of the entire collective bargaining process. We begin with a focus on factors affecting collective bargaining outcomes. The course goes on to introduce strategic and tactical planning as part of collective bargaining, addresses key labor laws, bargaining health care and benefits, and utilizing the strength of the rank and file membership. The class also introduces contract costing and research methodologies.

    Registration Deadline:

    Monday, November 12, 2018

  • Dec 06-07 | Advanced bargaining tools

    Advanced bargaining tools

    Dec 6-7 | 8:30am — 4:30pm

    Class fee: $480

    This specialized 2-day program provides a detailed, in-depth exploration of three topics: (1) costing contract proposals, (2) writing and evaluating contract language, and (3) individual and team conduct in caucuses and at the bargaining table.
    You will learn:
    • How to calculate the cost of wage and benefit proposals, as well as multi-year package proposals
    • How to analyze and write the most effective language for your contract proposals
    • How to interact in negotiating team caucuses and at the bargaining table itself
    Great when paired with the “Essentials of Bargaining” course, or on its own as a stand-alone program!
    Registration deadline :

    Monday, November 12, 2018

Registration FAQs

  • Registration

    Registration can be completed online here or by calling School for Workers at 608.262.2112. Registration is required two weeks prior to the first class day.

  • Payment

    Payment is due 14 days before the class start date. Credit card payments can be made over the phone at 608-262-2112 or make a check payable to UW-Extension and mail to School for Workers at:

    610 Langdon Street, Room 422 / Madison, WI 53703

    Registration payment includes tuition, instructional materials, lunches and breaks unless otherwise noted in the program description.

    Do not include lodging fees in your payments to School for Workers; lodging reservations are made between the individual and the Lowell Center.

  • Conference center

    Labor education programs are held at Pyle Center, the UW-Madison campus conference center, located at 702 Langdon Street, Madison WI 53706.

  • Lodging

    Labor education program participants are responsible for arranging their own lodging. We encourage you to secure your lodging soon after registering for your class to ensure a hotel room for your stay in Madison.

    The Lowell Center has a block of rooms available for class participants to reserve from. Please note rooms are released 30 days prior to the class start date. To reserve your room at Lowell Center call 1-866-301-1753 and state you are registered with School for Workers.

    Learn more about the accommodations at Lowell Center.

  • Accessibility

    UW-Madison provides equal opportunities in programming. To ensure equal access, please make requests at registration or by contacting School for Workers office at 608.262.2112 or Requests are confidential.

  • Cancellation policy

    For a full refund, cancellation notification must be 14 days or more prior to the program start date. If notification is less than 14 days prior, the cancellation fee will be, at a minimum, $100. School for Workers reserves the right to cancel programs when enrollment criteria are not met or when conditions beyond our control intervene. If School for Workers cancels a class, class fees are refunded in full, but additional costs incurred are the responsibility of the registrants.