1199 Leadership Brochure

In collaboration with SLU, 1199SEIU is offering a new labor leadership program for its Member Leaders through an exciting opportunity to enroll tuition-free and earn either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Labor Studies.

SLU is known for providing support to adult students who may be returning to school after many years. In addition to ongoing academic support, SLU offers specialized tutoring and college preparation courses to improve reading, writing, and math skills. SLU also provides guidance and assistance to 1199SEIU Member Leaders throughout the admissions process.

The tuition for undergraduate and graduate degree programs will be paid in full for members in good standing who meet the conditions of the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund.

1199 Member Leadership Program at CUNY SLU


Labor Studies at SLU prepares union activists to take on increasing levels of responsibility for union building. Students gain a deeper knowledge of labor’s challenges and opportunities regarding organizing, politics, and the 21st-century political economy. Courses also sharpen students’ critical thinking, oral and written communication, and strategic planning skills. SLU’s Labor Studies classes enable students to gain knowledge that is essential to the daily functioning of unions including contract campaigns, collective bargaining, internal and new organizing, grievance handling as well as grounded in labor history and theory. SLU offers certificates and degree programs at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

The Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Studies is designed for undergraduate students who want to study the social, political and cultural impact that work has on employees and their communities. The curriculum includes courses in history, sociology, law and political science. Students examine the internal dynamics of labor organizations and develop leadership skills that will help them become more effective advocates for workers’ rights and social justice, and prepare them for careers in organizing, public policy, social action research, and law.

The Master’s Degree in Labor Studies curriculum draws from the fields of sociology, law, history, economics, political science and labor relations to help students understand the opportunities and challenges facing workers and their organizations. Students strengthen their critical thinking, analytical and leadership skills while developing in-depth knowledge about labor law, organizing, collective bargaining, labor relations and strategic research, and global labor conditions and international organizing.

The Graduate Certificate in Labor Relations offers students the opportunity to develop the practical skills necessary to participate in collective bargaining, conflict resolution, and contract administration. It also provides a theoretical and historical understanding of labor law, public policy and the role of worker organizations in employment relations. It prepares students for careers in the areas of organizing, labor relations, contract administration, labor and employment law, and conflict resolution.

The Graduate Certificate in Labor Studies serves the educational needs of seasoned labor leaders, professional union staff, as well as union members and activists who want to advance their careers and enhance their contributions to the labor movement.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Labor Relations provides a comprehensive overview of union-side labor relations in the public and private sectors. These skills are useful for careers in organizing, labor relations, strategic research, labor and employment law, and mediation.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Labor Studies offers students an understanding of work, workers and labor organizations, and the social, political and cultural impact that the organization of work has on employees and their communities.

The Urban Experience Program

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, in collaboration with the 1199SEIU Training & Employment Fund, offers the Urban Experience Program (UEP). The UEP is a four-course certificate program designed to provide 1199SEIU members with a strong college foundation while simultaneously examining issues related to social justice, urban life, health equity, public policy, and the labor movement.

Students completing courses at SLU will fulfill four University-wide General Education Pathways requirements. Credits are transferrable to other colleges in the CUNY system as well as to SLU’s BA program in Urban and Community Studies.  Read more about the Urban Experience Program.

Applying and Eligibility

Admissions Requirements

Must be an eligible SEIU1199 member (approved by union)

Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Studies Admissions Requirements
Applicants must possess at least 24 transferrable credits from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4-point scale. Applicants need to demonstrate basic proficiency in reading, writing, and math. For students who need to fulfill General Education curriculum requirements they may enroll in online courses on e-permit with the School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU-CUNY) contingent upon SLU availability of General Education classes during a given semester.

Applicants are also required to submit a resume and personal statement (provide a compelling 250-word essay describing your relevant experience and motivation for pursuing a major in Labor Studies).

Master’s Degree in Labor Studies Admissions Requirements
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to write a personal statement, upload a resume, and provide two letters of recommendation. An individual interview may be required.

In addition to the admission criteria for graduate degree programs, a background in labor, related fields, and/or social science is an advantage but not essential.

Hear from Students and Faculty