Center for Labor and Community Studies opens at UM-Dearborn

September 12, 2011

The University of Michigan’s long-standing Labor Studies Center has reopened at the University of Michigan-Dearborn as the Center for Labor and Community Studies.

The reinvented Center has broadened its scope to harness the power of the University’s commitment to civic engagement and will provide additional programs, research, seminars and other activities for the labor community and local groups.

“The University’s geographic presence and commitment to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement make it the right fit for the Center for Labor and Community Studies,” said Daniel Little, chancellor, UM-Dearborn. “The Center provides the University community opportunities for additional research and creates new opportunities for scholarship and community impact in southeast Michigan.”

September 15-18, the Center will host the 16th annual Latina/o Workers Leadership Institute as its first event on campus. The conference brings together workers and leaders from a variety of organizations to learn about new ideas, strategies and skills to meet the challenges facing workers in today’s ever-changing workplaces.

As part of the conference Gabriel Thompson, journalist and author of Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs Americans Won't to Do, will give a public lecture on Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. at UM-Dearborn's Fairlane Center building.

Southeast Michigan has long been on the forefront of the subject of labor and education. Local labor leaders are optimistic the Center will strengthen the region’s educational offerings and community outreach on the subject of labor.

“The connection between labor and the communities where we live is important to us all. This center will emphasize study and action where unions and neighborhoods come together,” said Mark Gaffney, president, Michigan State AFL-CIO. “I am very excited about University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Labor and Community Studies and I look forward to working closely with the Center. Their first leadership institute for Latina, Latino workers is a great example of service by this Center for southeast Michigan.”

“I am pleased that the University is continuing its fine legacy of worker education through the activities of the Center for Labor and Community Studies,” said Bob King, president United Auto Workers (UAW). “The UAW is committed to providing high-quality educational opportunities which enhance worker leadership skills and improve the quality of life in local communities.”

Bruce Pietrykowski

Bruce Pietrykowski, professor of economics, who has done extensive research in economics and labor-related issues and serves as the director of the University’s urban and regional studies program, directs the Center. “The Center for Labor and Community Studies is dedicated to offering adult education that empowers workers to keep pace with the changing global economy.”

Additional programming beyond the upcoming workshop includes the Black Men in Unions conference, the Michigan Summer School for Women Workers and a Leadership Institute.

The Labor Studies Center at the University of Michigan opened in 1957 and throughout its history has provided educational offerings in the fields of labor relations. For more information on UM-Dearborn’s Center for Labor and Community Studies or the upcoming Latina/o Workers Leadership Institute visit