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Unifor-McMaster Labour Studies Certificate Program

Education has an important role in building a knowledgeable membership and workplace leadership

About the Program

Designed by labour experts, our Unifor-McMaster Labour Studies certificate coursescombine theoretical knowledge with practical information to help members develop critical thinking skills through a learning process built on:

  • commitment to participants and;
  • respect for prior experience, skill and activism.

The program is designed to be completed at your own pace. Day, evening and weekend classes are taught in a flexible setting, in your own community. Whether your goal is career advancement, you're working towards a degree or simply interested self-development the Unifor-McMaster Labour Studies certificate can help you succeed in today's complex world of work

Requirements for Completing the McMaster-Unifor Labour Studies Certificate

Students are required to complete 36 units in order to be eligible to graduate. Unit values range from 1 to 9 units depending on the class. Courses are delivered through a combination of face-to-face instruction, online learning, and video conferencing. Students are required to take 24 units of courses from the following list:

  • History of the Canadian Auto Workers Union (4 units)
  • Current Challenges to the Labour Movement (4 units)
  • Introduction to Workplace Issues (4 units)
  • Globalization and Democracy (4 units)
  • Making Work: Factors Shaping Today’s Workplace (4 units)
  • Wal-Mart: Driving a New Brand of Capitalism (4 units)
  • Government, Labour Regulation and the Workplace (4 units)
  • Solutions to Global Warming (4 units)
  • Labour and Media (4 units)
  • Labour in Film (4 units)
  • Labour in Documentary Film (4 units)
  • Film and Ideology (4 units)
  • Photo Essay Project: Social Justice through Photographs (4 units)
  • Labour History as Told Through Music (4 units)
  • Art, Labour Activism and Change (4 units)
  • Introduction to Economics course (online) (9 units)
  • Introduction to Politics (online) (9 units)
  • Working Class Life (4 units)
  • Who are the 1% (4 units)
  • Food, the Environment and Workers Power (4 units)
  • Understanding Mexico: The Struggle for Social Change (4 units)
  • Unions and Society (4 units)
  • The Worker’s Co-op Movement  (4 units)

Registration: Unifor members employed at Ford, GM, and Chrysler can continue to enrol in courses at no direct cost.  Simply inform your area Unifor-McMaster Coordinator that you are interested in enrolling in a course. All necessary registration forms are completed in the first class.

Have you completed your PEL 4 Week Basic Training Program?

If you have completed your Paid Education Leave (PEL) - 4 Week Basic Training Program you're eligible to receive extra credit towards the completion of the Unifor-McMaster Certificate. Please send us a copy of your Basic Training PEL Certificate along with your name and student number.  Upon receipt of your documentation, 8 additional units will be added to your student record. 

Credit Towards a University Degree

Extra Credit in the UNIFOR-MAC Program

McMaster University Senate has approved the Unifor-McMaster University, Labour Studies Certificate Program for advanced credit towards degree studies. Advanced credit is possible after successful  completion of the Certificate Program. Once completed, students are eligible to received 15 units of level one undergraduate credit towards a degree. Credit in the Unifor-McMaster certificate program has also been recognized at Athabasca University and the University of Windsor.

Winter 2020 Courses

Courses are currently postponed due to COVID-19.


Labour History as Told Through Music

Learn about the struggles of working class people past and present to improve their lives through music! This course is taught by musician Kevin Wycraft who plays live in the class to tell about the victories and defeats of workers! 4 units

  • Brampton Local 1285: Tuesdays - 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25, Mar. 3, 24, 31

Who are the 1%?

Wealth inequality has been hitting all time highs. But does 1% of the population really own most of the wealth? What ways do the wealthy use politics, the economy, media, laws, and the education system to give themselves unfair advantages over working people? 4 units

  • Windsor Local 444: Tuesdays 6:30 to 9:30p.m., Mar. 3, 10, 31, April 7

The Cooperative Alternative

Canadian workers have a long history of  worker owned and run co-operative  businesses', farms, stores and other enterprises. How do these actually work? What are the pros and cons? What challenges do they face? Do they improve workers lives? 4 units

  • Windsor Local 444: Tuesdays - 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., April 14, 21, May 12, 19
  • Oakville Local 707: Wednesdays - 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Mar. 4, 11, April 1, 8
  • Oshawa Contact John MacDonald for Location: Tuesdays and Thursdays - 4 to 7 p.m., Mar. 3, 10, April 2, 9

Unions and Society 

What roles do labour unions play in society? Can they democratize the workplace? Do they improve workers lives? Is there a cold war against unions? This course will debate these and other questions and discuss what the roles of unions are in society, and what they could be. 4 Units 

  • Ingersoll Local 88: Wednesdays - 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Mar. 4, 11, April 1, 8
  • Oakville Local 707: Wednesdays - 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Jan 22, 29, Feb 19, 26

Video Conference Courses - CURRENTLY POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Video conference courses are screened in Brampton, HamiltonIngersollOakville, Oshawa, St. Catharines, and Windsor, on Monday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

What is Happening with the US Auto Industry?

How has the US auto industry changed overtime and what is the current state it is in today? What trends have been occurring, and how is Canadian Auto affected? What does the future hold for the US auto industry?

Monday, February 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m., 1 Unit

Union Organizing in the ‘Gig’ Economy

The ‘Gig’ economy is characterized by precarious jobs, with low pay, insecurity, and lack of benefits. A worker-activist in the gig-economy will tell us about what working in this sector is like and the possibility of organizing these workers to improve their conditions.

Monday, March 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m., 1 Unit

How do we Build Cross Border Solidarity?

Employers increasingly pit workers in different countries against each other in a global race to the bottom. This two session course will discuss Unifor, and other unions attempts to create cross border worker solidarity to combat this trend.

Monday, March 30, and April 6, 6:30-9:30 p.m., 2 Units

Online Courses - Winter 2020

Online Courses

These self-paced courses allow students to work at their own pace from the comfort of home, and view online presentations, complete readings and submit exercises to an instructor via email. Students will have access to the facilitator thorough email.  

For more information on online courses contact us at, 905-525-9140 ext. 24015.


Labour and Politics—New Course!

This course looks at the history of the Canadian working class’s involvement with politics, both historically and today. What are the different philosophies unions have had regarding members involvement in politics? What is the difference between Canadian and US unions views on politics? Why have many unions supported the NDP? What  current and future political issues do working people face?  9 Units

Contact the Local to Register

For more information, contact us at 905-525-9140 Ext. 24015 or by email at