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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Daniel F. Jacoby
BIS 490
Bothell Campus

Senior Seminar

Study of special topics in interdisciplinary arts and sciences. Prerequisite: BIS 300.

Class description

Contemporary Labor Policies. Unions, Education and Technology

Union membership in the US has dropped from its high of roughly one-third of the labor force after WWII to less than 12% today. On the other hand, college completion has risen to roughly the same level as peak unionization. In this course we examine how organized labor is still relevant, or whether it has become unnecessary in our education and technology based economy. To do that we'll look at how labor law has developed and why some believe it has limited the success of labor. At the same time, we'll also look at current issues from current attacks on public sector unionism (in Wisconsin and elsewhere) and new methods of organizing for the new economy. We'll be sure to take on questions about teacher unions as well as other skilled markets.

Student learning goals

Define core issues in labor markets, especially unions and schooling.

To understand why labor is different from other economic commodities.

To consider whether democracy in the workplace is necessary, and why or how US law and labor institutions promote that.

To use legal and economic analysis to examine the roles that skill and organization play in the labor market and to understand policies that promote or retard investment in skills.

To consider the efficiency and equity of labor market outcomes in the US.

General method of instruction


Class may involve field visits and/or attendance at additional guest seminars.

Recommended preparation

Some economics very helpful

Class assignments and grading

Expect to produce individual research papers that culminate in a team effort at redesigning either US labor law or Higher Education Finance.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Daniel F. Jacoby
Date: 11/15/2012