December 6, 2016
Contact: Ed Blaguszewski 413/545-0444 AMHERST, Mass. –
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has announced a path forward to revitalize its distinguished Labor Center and engage a new generation of students in labor issues. The plan includes significant new investments by the university and a mutual understanding with Massachusetts labor organizations about the value of helping to fund the internship program. It also updates course and program offerings to achieve a robust level of enrollment.
The plan includes initial commitments for three years and a thorough evaluation to determine any necessary adjustments. Milestones for progress include increasing undergraduate enrollment (now approximately 100 students) by at least 100 percent, and maintaining a cohort of at least 12 new, full-time students per year in the residential master’s program.
The revitalization strategy follows a productive campus meeting in October involving Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and a variety of Labor Center stakeholders including alumni, faculty, students, union representatives and Massachusetts labor leaders.
Subbaswamy said, “UMass Amherst’s commitment to educating students about workers’ rights and economic justice has been unwavering for more than half a century. Inspired by a commencement address by AFL-CIO President George Meany in 1964, the university created a labor relations and research center that has uniquely prepared labor leaders in Massachusetts and throughout the country. The steps we are announcing today reaffirm our commitment to this eminent program.”
Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, said, “For the last hundred years the working class has made significant gains, but all of those benefits and protections—from unemployment insurance to Social Security—can be taken away with the stroke of a pen. We must continue to organize, educate and activate our civic society to stand up for workers’ rights. The UMass Amherst Labor Center is needed more than ever. I applaud the chancellor for his vision and commitment.”
Francis Callahan Jr., president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, said, “This plan is a giant step towards re-establishing the UMass Labor Center as the nation’s premiere institution of education for the next generation of labor leaders and in-depth research on the issues confronting America’s workers.”
Tom Juravich, interim director of the Labor Center, said, “We are thrilled by these reaffirmations by the university and the labor movement to the Labor Center so that we can continue our important work of creating innovative courses, degree programs and research in support of workers’ rights and economic justice.”
The Labor Center will benefit from these commitments:
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