For more information:

Schmidt Labor Research Center
36 Upper College Road
Kingston, RI 02881

p. 401.874.2239
f. 401.874.2954

uri.slrc@gmail.com

More Contact Information

Facebook

 

SLRC Links

Student Guildelines

Communication & Email

Course Schedule

e-Campus Guide

Alumni Update Form

FAQ

SRRMSHRM Certification

MS in Labor Relations and Human Resources

The Master's Degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources is a multidisciplinary graduate program which prepares students for careers in labor relations and human resources. Our graduates work in labor unions, business firms, educational organizations, government agencies and non-profit enterprises. See our list of alumni to see all of the types of jobs our graduates hold.

  • Overview
  • Core
  • LR Specialization
  • HR Specialization
  • Electives
  • MS/JD
The MS program consists of 13 courses (39 credits). There are 9 courses required of all students and four elective courses, which are used to develop a specialization in either labor relations or human resources. Students may develop a specialization in other related areas with the permission of the center's director. There are two required courses of special note. Labor Relations and Human Resources (LRS 500) provides an overview of these fields and should be taken early in the student's program. During the final semester, students are given a written comprehensive exam covering the content from required (core) courses. The capstone course, Professional Seminar in Labor Relations and Human Resources (LRS 580) should be taken in the final semester of matriculation. Through this seminar, students develop their research and integrative skills by writing a major research paper on a topic of their choice. See our Research Seminar Paper Series page to sample the work of some our recent graduates.

Our MS program is is fully aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management's curriculum guides for HR education.

Required Courses

LRS 500 -- Labor Relations and Human Resources: Introduction to labor relations and human resources, including employment practices in unionized and non-union organizations; also issues related to data sources and research methodology. Topics covered include knowledge systems in labor relations and human resources, decision making and ethics, conflict and bargaining, union organizing, grievance and arbitration, strike and boycotts, public sector bargaining, compensation and reward systems, performance management systems, and establishing employee to the job and to the organization. Offered Fall semester.

LRS/PSC 521 – International & Comparative Labor Relations Systems:.Typical employment relations issues in the core countries and a selection of important developing countries, social policy, and globalized employment networks. Topics include varieties of capitalism, income distribution and labor markets, employment growth, wage bargaining and macroeconomic management, participation and employment security, and the welfare state at a general level. Second phase of course compares a group of countries concerning these issues as well as family support, compensation, health care, education and training, social security and pensions, and immigration. The last phase deals with the development of global commodity chains and the role of states, corporations, labor-based organizations and the International Labor Organization in governance of those chains. Offered Spring semester.

LRS/ECN 526 – Economics of Labor Markets: (neoclassical) and heterodox approaches. Since it has no economics prerequisites, the course includes an overview of mainstream economic constructs: positive versus normative economics; methodological individualism; the nature and roles of models, including instrumental irrealism; economic rationality; individual consumer utility and demand; market supply and demand; economic efficiency; equity; and market failure. It applies these constructs to the labor market with an overview of U.S. labor-force data and wage rates as the outcome of supply and demand for labor. It then delves more deeply into the neoclassical theory of the firm as a determinant of labor demand, labor demand elasticities, and market frictions in the demand for labor, as well as labor supply as conscious, rational choice and as an extension of the theory of consumer utility.

The application portion of this course focuses on the economic analysis of labor markets, with special emphasis on recruitment, compensation, and retention, as well as on selected policy issues, such as unemployment, immigration, inequality, unions, and globalization. This part of the course covers compensating wage differentials, benefits, human capital, productivity and wage determination, and internal training versus market alternatives. Students also consider specific heterodox alternatives to these specific applications, for example labor market segmentation explanations of wage inequality, overaccumulation and underconsumption theories of unemployment, and internal labor-relations policies as contested control strategies. Offered Fall semester.

LRS 531 – Employment Law: Analysis of legislation protecting worker health, employment, and income security, including OSHA, workers' compensation, equal opportunity, fair labor standards, Walsh-Healy and Davis-Bacon, pension funds, unemployment compensation, and social security. (Lec. 3) Pre: permission of Labor Research Center director. Offered Spring semester.

LRS 541 – Labor Relations Law: Legal framework for private and public sector collective bargaining. Regulation of activities with emphasis on individual rights, collective rights, and policy considerations of Federal and State courts, the NLRB, and State Labor Boards in determining society’s rights. Case studies. Offered fall semester.

LRS 542 – Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to labor relations and collective bargaining. The goal is to make students familiar with "real world" collective bargaining issues, strategies, and tactics so that they would feel comfortable joining a labor or management negotiations' team or helping with contract administration. The course includes both classroom discussion and an experiential component.
Generally, mornings will be used for classroom discussion of key concepts and important topics in labor relations, while afternoons will be devoted to simulated collective bargaining. Offered Fall semester - eight Saturdays 9-2.

LRS/HIS 544 – Colloquium in Worker History: This course will examine, in a comprehensive and chronological fashion, the history of American labor and industry from colonial times to the present. We will examine the field from the perspective of the New Labor History which interprets the working class in a broad social framework. We will also emphasize the traditional development and role of trade unions as a reaction to the growth of large corporations. Offered Fall semester.

LRS 551 – Human Resource Strategy: Human resource issues addressed in context of changing product and labor markets, including relationship between human resource policies; the economic, social, and political environment; and firm's strategic objectives. The main focus of this course is the study of how various human resource strategies are aligned with and contribute to a firm's competitive strategy. Employee recruitment and selection systems, employee development systems, are compensation and reward systems are integrated and linked to competitive advantage through a firm's performance management system and human resource information system. Offered Spring semester.

LRS 580 – Professional Seminar: Labor Relations and Human Resources: Advanced labor relations and human resources seminar of variable coverage and focus; adjusted yearly to consider most recent employment relations developments. Major research paper required which requires students to review empirical research on the effectiveness human resource strategies and practices to further develop their skilled in evidenced-based management. Student must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in all required (core) courses. Offered Spring semester.

Labor Relations Specialization

Select two of the following three courses:

LRS 520 – Developments in Worker Representation: Structure, functions, responsibilities and programs of unions and union leadership. Emphasis on policies and decision making. Evaluation of labor and management performance. Consideration of administrative problems associated with growth of white collar unions. Offered Spring semester.

LRS 543 – Public Sector Collective Bargaining: Public sector (state, municipal, federal, police, fire, K-12 education, and higher education) collective bargaining theory, practice, and legal foundations. Comprehensive case studies .Offered alternate Spring semesters.

LRS 545 – Arbitration and Mediation of Labor Disputes: Students prepare, present, and analyze labor and employment arbitration/mediations. The course also covers interest arbitration, and innovative methods for resolving disputes. Offered spring semester.

Human Resources Specialization

MBA 577 – Compensation Administration: The purpose of this course is to introduce you to basic concepts and major issues in compensation administration.

The course begins with a discussion of compensation as part of a human resource strategy, and some mention of important legal compliance issues. You will then learn to design and implement a point factor method job evaluation system. We also explore issues concerning salary surveys and how to reconcile an organization's need for internal consistency among jobs in a hierarchy with the dynamics of the marketplace. As well, consideration will be given to person-based compensation systems, such as skill-, knowledge-, and competency-based pay. Next, we turn to the problem of rewarding employees based upon individual, group, and/or organizational performance. Issues such as performance appraisal, merit pay, profit sharing, gain sharing, and various forms of incentive pay are explored. Managing the pay system (e.g. budgeting, communications, and administration) is the final subject in this section of the course.

The second major topic of the course is employee benefits. We will discuss issues relating to mandatory benefits (mainly workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and social security), and voluntary benefits, particularly health care and pensions.

Finally, we conclude with an exploration of executive pay and global (primarily expatriate) compensation. Issues in this section include the structure of compensation and the complexities involved in rewarding individuals on overseas assignments. Offered spring semester.

MBA 578 – Human Resource Development: Techniques used in procurement and development of human resources. Planning through recruitment, selection, and placement to training and development. Integration of Human Resource Development process with organizational strategic plans. Models of facilitating large scale organizational and small behavioral change are covered. Offered Fall semester.

Elective Courses

LRS/SOC 432 – Work, Employment & Society: The social structure of industrial organizations; institutional patterns of conflict and cooperation; the impact of  the political process; current issues in industry.

LRS/PSC 503 – Problems in Public Personnel Administration: Human resource issues addressed in context of changing product and labor markets, including relationship between human resource policies; the economic, social, and political environment; and firm’s strategic objectives.

LRS 520 – Developments in Worker Representation: Structure, functions, responsibilities and programs of unions and union leadership. Emphasis on policies and decision making. Evaluation of labor and management performance. Consideration of administrative problems associated with growth of white collar unions.* Offered in Spring semester.

LRS 532 –  Seminar in Employment Law: Overview. This course will focus on two very practical, hands-on areas of employment law - - the Family and Medical Leave Act and Wage and Hour Law, and then on two more policy-oriented and fluid areas - - Privacy Issues in the Workplace, and Whistleblower Rights.

Family and Medical Leave Act. Topics will include:

  • What is a "serious health condition" that makes an employee eligible for FMLA leave?
  • What notices and information must the employer and employee provide to each other?
  • Leave to care for family members - - under what circumstances is it protected?
    Which employees are eligible - - work history and other issues.
  • Enforcement - - How is the law enforced? What types of liability does an employer face if it violates the law? To what is the employee entitled? Remedies for retaliation.
    Special provisions for military families.

Wage and Hour Laws. Topics will include:

  • When is a worker a covered employee? When is he/she a non-covered independent contractor?
  • Joint liability: When is a business jointly liable with a subcontractor for the subcontractor's violation of wage and hour laws?
  • Personal liability: When is a manager/other higher up employee personally liable for the employer's violation of wage and hour laws?
  • What kinds of deductions from paychecks are illegal?
  • "Work:" What activities must be compensated as "work?"
  • Preliminary or preparatory activities? Travel time? Internships? Time spent in classes or
    professional development? On-call time? Lunch breaks? Working at home? Volunteering?
  • When can "room and board" or meals be counted toward wages owed?
  • White collar exemptions - - who is eligible?
  • Enforcement - - Money damages, hot goods injunctions, compensation for retaliation, class actions.

Privacy Issues. Topics will include:

  • Background checks and credit checks of applicants and employees.
  • Psychological screening, personality tests, and lie detector tests of applicants and employees.
  • Computer, video and other AT monitoring of employees.
  • Restricting employees' off-work activities
  • Employer liability to third parties for negligent hiring of a dangerous employee.

Whistleblowing.

  • We will examine one major law that purports to protect whistleblowers, and evaluate its effectiveness from the perspectives of employers, employees, and the general public.

Written and Oral Requirements

  • One essay exam
  • 2 short papers. Students will be given a factual scenario involving Wage and Hour and/or Family& Medical Leave Act issues, and will be asked to analyze the legal implications.
  • One oral presentation on a topic of student's choice in area of Privacy Issues or Whistleblower Rights.
  • Active class participation.

LRS 533 – Pension, Health Care, and Employee Benefit Programs: The course provides a foundation for understanding the nature of retirement along with the role pensions and health insurance play in providing a secure retirement. In order to understand how pensions work there will be a  focus on the two major types of pensions (defined contribution and defined benefits). Additionally, the investment strategies used to finance and manage pension costs will be studied. Also, the issue of privatizing social security will be studied.  The problem of financing and delivering health care to all will be emphasized, as the states and the federal government struggle with ways to provide universal health care. Among the issues to be studied relating to health care are prescription drug benefits, dental insurance, long term care options, employee assistance programs, mental health benefits, and the relationship of  medical savings accounts to high deductible plans, as well as flexible spending accounts, the costs of health insurance for children, active employees and retirees. None of these health care problems can be looked at without understanding the current programs of medicare and medicaid. Underlying all of this it is crucial to understand today's investment theories of liability investing, hedge funds and 130/30 investment schemes, among others. Offered during Summer Session.

LRS 543 – Public Sector Collective Bargaining: Public sector (state, municipal, federal, police, fire, K-12 education, and higher education) collective bargaining theory, practice, and legal foundations. Comprehensive case studies.

LRS 545 – Arbitration and Mediation of Labor Disputes: Students prepare, present, and analyze labor and employment arbitration/mediations. The course also covers interest arbitration, and innovative methods for resolving disputes.*

LRS 546 – Negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Examination of the interpersonal dynamics of negotiations and conflict resolution processes, including interest-based or collaborative bargaining in a variety of contexts; e.g. labor relations, community, environmental, divorce, racial commercial. Offered during Summer Session.

LRS 573 - Staffing Organizations:Staffing Organizations provides an introduction to the staffing process from scientific, legal, administrative, and strategic perspectives, covering topics such as workforce planning, strategic staffing, job analysis, recruitment, assessment, and making final hiring decisions. Various selection tools and recruitment methods are discussed, combined with a focus on selection system design. The course is approached with the intent of providing pragmatic information necessary for meaningful decision-making
This course is designed for future and practicing human resource professionals, as well as employees and managers with an in-depth study of the staffing function. This course focuses on the nuts and bolts of what you need to know to work in the area of staffing. After completion of this class, students should be able to: conduct a job analysis, write job descriptions and specifications, choose appropriate methods of recruitment and selection, develop and conduct structured interviews, and evaluate the validity, fairness, and organizational effectiveness of staffing programs. The course is taught using a combination of lectures, discussion, and experiential exercises/applications. Pre: MBA 502 or LRS 500 or MBA 571.

LRS 579 – Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining in Education: Collective bargaining in public and private educational sectors, K-12, higher education; literature, theory, practice, and legal foundations in education. Comprehensive case studies. Offered during Summer Session as a WebCT course.

LRS 581 – Internship in Labor Relations and Human Resources:  Variable length internship with a trade union, a public or private sector human resource or labor relations department, or a governmental administrative or regulatory agency, under the supervision of both a URI Labor Research Center faculty member and a member of the affiliated organization. Offered Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.

LRS 591 – Directed Readings in Labor Relations and Human Resources: Readings and research under the direction of SLRC-associated faculty to meet individual student requirements. Offered Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.

MBA 502 – Organizational Behavior: Examination of the theory, research, and practice of organizational behavior in work settings, focusing on individual differences, communications, group dynamics, motivation, and leadership in the workplace.

MBA 577 – Compensation Administration: The purpose of this course is to introduce you to basic concepts and major issues in compensation administration.
The course begins with a discussion of compensation as part of a human resource strategy, and some mention of important legal compliance issues. You will then learn to design and implement a point factor method job evaluation system. We also explore issues concerning salary surveys and how to reconcile an organization's need for internal consistency among jobs in a hierarchy with the dynamics of the marketplace. As well, consideration will be given to person-based compensation systems, such as skill-, knowledge-, and competency-based pay. Next, we turn to the problem of rewarding employees based upon individual, group, and/or organizational performance. Issues such as performance appraisal, merit pay, profit sharing, gain sharing, and various forms of incentive pay are explored. Managing the pay system (e.g. budgeting, communications, and administration) is the final subject in this section of the course.
The second major topic of the course is employee benefits. We will discuss issues relating to mandatory benefits (mainly workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and social security), and voluntary benefits, particularly health care and pensions.
Finally, we conclude with an exploration of executive pay and global (primarily expatriate) compensation. Issues in this section include the structure of compensation and the complexities involved in rewarding individuals on overseas assignments.** Offered in Spring semester.

MBA 578 – Human Resource Development: Techniques used in procurement and development of human resources. Planning through recruitment, selection, and placement to training and development. Integration of Human Resource Development process with organizational strategic plans. Models of facilitating large scale organizational and small behavioral change are covered.** Offered in Fall semester.

Others: Graduate courses from Political Science, Nursing, Human Development & Family Studies, Business (MBA) may be used as elective courses with the prior approval of the SLRC Director.

*    Elective credits for the Human Resources specialization only.

**   Elective credits for the Labor Relations specialization only.

Dual Degree Program: MS in Labor Relations and Human Resources & Juris Doctor (Roger Williams Law School)

The Charles T. Schmidt, Jr. Labor Research Center at the University of Rhode Island and the Roger Williams University School of Law offer a concentrated dual degree program for students interested in the extensive study of issues relating to employment and labor relations.

The dual degree program allows matriculated students to complete the Master of Science in Labor Relations and Human Resources (MSLRHR) and the Juris Doctor (JD) in an accelerated period.  By combining course work at the two institutions, students are able to reduce the overall time needed for the completion of the two degrees by up to one year.

To earn the degrees, students must complete 30 credits at URI’s Schmidt Labor Research Center and 75 credits at Roger William's School of Law.  Students must be accepted separately by each institution.  Further information is available from the Schmidt Labor Research Center at 401-874-2239 and from the Roger Williams University School of Law, Office of Admissions, at 401-254-4555.

Program Description

Typically, the MSLRHR and the JD are pursued separately.  At the Schmidt Labor Research Center, the MSLRHR program requires 39 credits that can be completed on a full-time basis within two years.  The JD degree requires 90 credits that can be completed on a full-time basis within three years.

A student matriculating in the joint program will transfer some credits taken in one degree program to help satisfy the overall credit requirements of the other degree program as well.  As indicated below, the Schmidt Labor Research Center will accept 9 law credits toward the overall total of 39, so that the student in the joint program will only need to register and pay for 30 labor relations and human resources credits.

The School of Law will accept 15 labor relations and human resources credits as transfer credits, so that the dual degree student will need to register and pay for 75 law credits.  The credit transfers will reduce the time needed to complete both degrees from five to four years.

Admission Requirements and Policy

Applicants must apply to and be accepted into each program separately and inform both schools of their intention to pursue the dual degree program.  Ordinarily, applications to the separate institutions should be filed simultaneously, even if the student will not be taking courses at both institutions during the first year of study.  However, a student already matriculated in either the JD or MSLRHR program could apply to the other institution in order to pursue the dual degree prior to the end of the first year of study.

Transfer Courses

SLRC Courses eligible for transfer to RWU School of Law

LRS 500 Labor Relations and Human Resources
LRS 526 Economics of Labor Markets
LRS 521 Comparative Labor Relations Systems
LRS 542 Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations
LRS 551 Human Resource Strategy
   

Law Courses eligible for transfer to URI

Law 631* Administrative Law
Law 820** Employment Law
Law 822*** Labor Law
* Elective in the MS in LRHR program
** Substitutes for LRS 531
*** Substitutes for LRS 541

 

 

 

 

 

 


URI