Labor Center alumni, union activists and community allies committed to
Save the Labor Center
About The Labor Center
For over 50 years, the UMass Amherst Labor Center has been the premier graduate program in the country for union activists, leaders, staff, and those interested in potential careers in the labor movement to study the history, theory, legal framework, and best practices in this field in an academically rigorous manner. Almost 1,000 Labor Center alumni have gone on to serve as organizers, representatives, labor academics and educators, industrial relations experts, strategic researchers, arbitrators, and elected leaders in universities, unions and community organizations throughout the country. In addition, Labor Center faculty and students carry out important research on issues related to workers’ rights—including wage theft, workplace safety, and temp work—that informs unions, worker centers, community organizations, and policymakers.
In the past year, UMass administrators have eliminated all funding for full-time Labor Center graduate students (including teaching and research assistantships), all funding for part-time faculty who teach the required curriculum and cut the Director's position from 12-months to 9-months.
Administrators explained that they would only allow the Labor Studies Master’s degree program to continue to exist if it served as a “revenue generator” – to fund other parts of the University outside the Labor Center.
With these changes, the Labor Center can no longer welcome all students, labor leaders, and rank-and-file activists regardless of class, race, nationality, or ability to pay. It cannot offer assistantships or externships that provide valuable experience as well as tuition waivers. Instead, the Labor Center has been told to recruit only students who can afford to pay full tuition, preferably out-of-state tuition—over $60,000 for a two-year degree, not including room and board.
Today, the need for the Labor Center has never been greater. As inequality increases, the content of a Labor Studies degree has never been more relevant. It is at the Labor Center that working people develop the intellectual and organizational tools to fight back against the forces that produce inequality, and to take back control of their own lives and communities. Cuts to the Labor Center threaten the ability of the program to provide that education to students in the future.
This site is run and maintained exclusively by alumni of the Labor Center. Today we live all across the country, working in all parts of the labor movement.