Minor in Labor Studies

Minor in Labor Studies

The Bureau of Labor Education (BLE) was established in August 1966 with an appropriation from the 102nd Maine Legislature and an official charge by the Trustees of the University of Maine directing that, “…appropriate and specialized educational programs (be made) available to members of the Maine labor force, both organized and unorganized.” The Bureau is a department within the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning. Essentially, the educational activities and resources of the BLE focus on providing Maine’s working people with information and knowledge designed to help them assess their own situation in relation to their history as working people and the economic, political, and social environment in which they live.

By working to fulfill its mission, the Bureau combines the three functions of the University – research, teaching, and public service – to provide an important segment of society with the opportunity for greater involvement in the life and affairs of the community, state, and nation.

The Labor Studies minor is available to current undergraduate degree students at the University of Maine. The Bureau of Labor Education offers a Minor in Labor Studies which includes the following two required undergraduate courses. Labor Studies classes may be taken as part of the Minor in Labor Studies or by themselves as electives. All Labor Studies classes are structured to be taught online for students, workers, elected union leaders and staff, educators, public policy makers, and other members of the Maine community with an interest in labor relations and the labor movement. Those interested in taking a Labor Studies course should check with the Bureau regarding when they will be offered and how to register.

Goals and Learning Outcomes

The goal of this Minor in Labor Studies centers on enabling students to develop greater knowledge and understanding of unions and the labor movement, the social, historical, economic and political contexts of work and the labor movement, future trends and prospects for work and the labor movement, and issues relating to work in a global context. As a result of completing the Minor in Labor Studies, students will:

  • develop a greater understanding of the US labor movement and workplace through historical, political, legal, economic, social, and organizational perspectives
  • be able to analyze the changing nature of work and the workplace in the US and global economy
  • gain a greater understanding of the role of gender, race, and class in the workplace and labor movement
  • explore the implications of post-carbon issues and climate change for workers, the economy, and for the labor movement
  • acquire a practical understanding of the roles, structure, and functions of unions, as well as the dynamics of labor relations established through collective bargaining and contract maintenance
  • be able to identify the major trends and leaders in the history of US organized labor
  • have the knowledge of economic concepts, vocabulary, and current events sufficient to read and understand the financial section of a major US newspaper
  • become familiar with the state and federal laws most commonly cited in employment and labor relations disputes and be able to find these laws on-line or in a library
  • be familiar with the concepts, vocabulary, and processes of alternative dispute resolution as applied in employment and labor relations

Visit the Bureau of Labor Education website to learn more about this exciting program!


The Minor in Labor Studies requires a minimum of eighteen credit hours of course study in the labor-related courses listed below. The two required core courses constitute six credit hours; another six credit hours must be taken from core electives, and the remaining six credits are to be selected from the list of elective courses. In addition, elective courses must be taken from (at least) two different disciplines.

Core Courses

Required core courses will consist of the following two 3 credit courses, for 6 credits:

  • LST 101: Introduction to Labor Studies (3 credits)
  • LST 201: Work and Labor in a Global Economy (3 credits)


Electives will consist of at least four courses (in at least two different disciplines) from the following list of courses, for a minimum of 12 credits

Core Electives

Each student must take at least two of these courses:

  • BUA 331: Labor-Management Relations (3 credits)
  • HTY 477*: The American Worker (3 credits)
  • PAX 360: Conflict Resolution: A Relational Approach To Working Through Conflict (3 credits)
  • PAX 451: Mediation: Its Premises, Practices and Policies (3 credits)
  • SOC 201: Social Inequality (3 credits)
  • WGS 201: Topics in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3 credits)
  • Course Topic: Women and Work

*most strongly recommended elective

Other Electives
  • ECO 100: Intro to Economics (3 credits)
  • ECO 120: Principles of Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • ECO 121: Principles of Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • HTY 241: History of Globalization, 1900-Present (3 credits)
  • HTY 330: Robber Barons, Reformers and Radicals 1877-1914 (3 credits)
  • HTY 467: Early 20th Century America, 1914-1945 (3 credits)
  • HTY 468: America Since 1945 (3 credits)
  • HTY 492: Technology and Society Since 1800 (3 credits)
  • HTY 494: Women, History and American Society: Selected Topics (3 credits)
    Women & Work Topic only; rarely taught
  • POS 380: Interest Groups and American Politics (3 credits)
  • PHI 233: Business Ethics (3 credits)
  • PHI 342: Marxist Philosophy I: The Philosophy of Karl Marx (3 credits)
  • PHI 344: Theories of Justice (3 credits)
  • SOC 302: Macro-sociology: The Structure of Societies (3 credits)
  • WGS 340: Transnational Feminisms (3 credits)


Minors are available to current degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University of Maine. Those interested in taking a Labor Studies course should check with the Bureau regarding when they will be offered and how to register: phone: 207.581.4124 or email: labored@maine.edu

Contact Us

Have questions about earning your degree online with UMaine? Contact Tiffany Peterson, UMaineOnline Advisor, at 207.581.5858 or at umaineonline@maine.edu.

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The Minor in Labor Studies will provide important educational and professional development opportunities for students wishing to focus on labor studies; unorganized and organized employees in the public and private sectors; the staff and elected officers of labor organizations; educators, government officials, and public policymakers. Non-degree students interested in Labor Studies are encouraged to speak with the Director of the Bureau of Labor Education about the Certificate in Labor studies.


Visit the Bureau of Labor Education website to find out more about the outstanding faculty and staff involved with this program.

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