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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 courses combine theoretical knowledge with practical information to help members develop critical thinking skills through a learning process built on:
  1. commitment to participants and;
  2. 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.

Fall 2019 Courses

Contact the local to register!

In-Class Courses

Understanding Mexico: The Struggle for Social Change

US domination of the economy; US owned sweatshops; weak unions; low wages; repression of activists. Mexican workers face difficult conditions, but they also have a rich, heroic, and inspiring  tradition of resistance, political art, music, and revolution. Come learn about their struggles and what workers here can do to make common cause and build solidarity. 4 units

Windsor Local 444: Thursdays - 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Oct. 3, 10, 31,  Nov.7

History of the Canadian Auto Workers Union

This course will discuss the struggles of Canadian auto workers  to build  a union, to represent their interests and improve their conditions of work and life. This newly updated course includes a section on the creation of Unifor. 4 units

  • Ingersoll Local 88: Wednesdays - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 16, 23, Nov. 13, 20
  • Oshawa Local 222: Tuesdays 5:30-8:30, Oct 15, 22, Nov 12, 19
  • Windsor Local 444: Thursdays, Oct. 17, 24, Nov. 14, 21

The Workers Co-op Movement - New course!

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

  • Brampton Local 1285: Tuesdays - 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, 29, Nov. 19, 26
  • Oakville Local 707: Wednesdays - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Oct 2, 9, 30, Nov 6
  • Oshawa Local 222: Thursdays - 4 to 7 p.m., Oct. 3, 10, 31, Nov 7

Unions and Society – New course!

What roles do labor unions play in society? Can they democraticize 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 

  • Brampton Local 1285: Tuesdays - 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8, 15, Nov. 5, 12
  • Oakville Local 707: Wednesdays - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Oct 16, 23, Nov 13, 20

Video Conference Courses

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 in Venezuela?

Raul Burbano of Common Frontiers joins us to discuss the social, political and economic  situation in the South American nation of Venezuela. What are the goals of the Venezuelan government and its ‘Bolivarian socialism’? Why is the US hostile toward it and how have they been attempting to destabilize it? Who are the anti-government protestors and what are their goals?

Monday, Nov. 11 and 18, 6:30-9:30pm, 2 Units

The First Year of the Doug Ford Ontario Government

It has been just over a year since the Doug Ford Conservative party formed the government of Ontario. What have their policies been, and how have they affected working class people? Naureen Rizi of Unifor National, and Author Judy Rebick will provide an analysis.

Monday, Oct. 7 and 28, 6:30—9:30 pm, 2 Units

The 100th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike: Lessons for Today

Exactly 100 years ago, with poverty, unemployment, and the gap between rich and poor growing, workers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, held one of the largest, most important general strikes in North American history. McMaster Professor Wayne Lewchuk will tell us about it and discuss the lessons for today. 

Monday, Nov. 25, 6:30-9:30 pm, 1 Unit

Online Courses - Fall 2019

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.

Introduction to Economics

How did our economic system evolve? How are wages determined? Is competition good for workers? These and other questions will be addressed in this on-line course featuring mini lectures by Jim Stanford, videos and animations describing how the economy works. Readings are from Jim Stanford’s Economics for Everyone, and include online quizzes. 9 Units

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