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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:

  • 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 in 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 2021 Courses

In-Class and Video Conference Courses Delivered Via Zoom

India: The Largest General Strike in History – What Was It All About? (1unit)

The largest general strike in history just took place in India. Upward of 250 million people around the subcontinent participated in a 24-hour general strike in solidarity. What was it about and what can we learn from it? 

Monday February 8th 2021 (5:30 -8:30pm) 

The New U.S Presidential Administration: What Does It Mean for Canadian Manufacturing? (1 unit)

The U.S. is transitioning to a new government. How will tariffs and trade policies change between Canada and the U.S. be affected? Will this be a more protectionist government who implements a “Buy America” policy? How will Canadian Manufacturing and our jobs be affected?

Monday March 1st 2021 (5:30 -8:30pm) 

The Doug Ford Government: What Is Their Environmental Policy? (2 units)

Since stepping into power in 2018, the Ford Government has launched a number of attacks on environmental protections to pave the way for development across the province, undercutting the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Assessment Act. 

Monday April 12th & 19th 2021 (5:30 -8:30pm) 

Working On the Line (4 units)

What key issues have production workers faced historically and today. How have companies organized workplaces in ways that can harm us?  How have workers dealt with this in the past?

March 24th, 31st April 21st, & 28th 2021 (5:30pm – 8:30 pm) OR:
April 1st, 8th 29th May 6th 2021 (5:30pm – 8:30 pm)

US Foreign Policy in Latin America (4 units)

Does the US promote freedom and democracy in Latin America, or play a role in impoverishing the region and overthrowing its governments? 

February 18th 25th March 22nd & 25th 2021 (5:30pm – 8:30 pm)

The Future of Work (4 units)

This 4-evening course will look at issues such as the Green New Deal, Guaranteed Basic Income and a Living wage.

February 4th, 11th, March 4th & 11th 2021 (5:30 -8:30pm) OR:
April 15th 22nd May 23rd 20th 2021 (5:30 -8:30pm) 

Video Conference Courses

Online Courses - Winter 2021

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