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Utilizing a distant learning educational model to modernize the labor relations process for the 21st century

, The Union Institute, United States

The Union Institute . Awarded


This study describes the creation and testing of a distant learning, on-line, interactive educational model for collective bargaining. It addresses the following questions: (1) How can the time-honored, traditional collective bargaining process be modernized in a cost-efficient, painless manner? (2) How can computers and telecommunications be integrated into the core of the process while maintaining a balance between continuity and change? (3) How can an on-line bargaining model address the rapidly evolving educational and competitive needs of academia and industry? The study proposes that the educational model will be an important tool in the future training of local union leaders.

Collective bargaining is a costly, resource-consuming process that has remained virtually unchanged since the genesis of the American labor movement during Colonial times. The current study includes an extensive review of past and present simulated collective bargaining exercises, labor relations education materials, and past labor relations negotiating models; these materials provide the structural foundation for the pilot distant learning, on-line interactive labor relations educational model.

This study is heuristic in that it was developed, tested, and evaluated by two highly experienced labor relations practitioners, one representing labor (Hartman, primary researcher), the other management (Farr, co-researcher). The pilot model was successfully tested with inexperienced Masters Degree program students at Baker College in Michigan.

The major finding of the study is that collective bargaining can be successfully taught and practiced on-line. The educational model has the potential to: (1) revolutionize training of elected local union leadership; (2) assist organizations in supervisory and leadership development; (3) reduce costs and resources associated with organizational training programs; (4) re-engineer the collective bargaining process via the virtual environment; (5) reduce resources, including the number of staff traditionally dedicated to the collective bargaining process; (6) increase competitiveness in today's global marketplace through lower operating costs; and (7) meet the evolving educational needs of academia.


Hartman, E.E. Utilizing a distant learning educational model to modernize the labor relations process for the 21st century. Ph.D. thesis, The Union Institute. Retrieved March 21, 2023 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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