Kate Bronfenbrenner is the Director of Labor Education Research and a Senior
Lecturer at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations where she
does teaching and research on union and employer strategies in organizing and bargaining
in the global economy. Kate has also done extensive research on the impact of trade
policy on employment, wages, and unionization. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in
1993, Bronfenbrenner was an Assistant Professor in Labor Studies at Penn State University
and worked for many years as an organizer and union representative with the United
Woodcutters Association in Mississippi and with SEIU in Boston, as well as a welfare
rights organizer in Seattle, Washington.
Bronfenbrenner, who received her Ph.D. from Cornell in 1993, is the co-author and editor
of several books on union strategies including Global Unions: Challenging Transnational
Capital Through Cross Border Campaigns, Union Organizing in the Public Sector: An
Analysis of State and Local Elections, Organizing to Win: New Research on Union
Strategies, and Ravenswood: The Steelworkers' Victory and the Revival of American
Labor. She has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs on
employer and union behavior in public and private sector organizing and first contract
campaigns, comprehensive campaigns, union leadership development, women and unions, and
global trade and investment policy. Her most recent work on the timing of employer unfair
labor practices during NLRB certification elections was cited by the NLRB in their rule
change for certification election procedures.
Because of her expertise in contemporary labor issues and her research on union and
employer behavior in certification election campaigns, Bronfenbrenner has been brought in
to testify as an expert witness at Labor Department and Congressional hearings and is
frequently quoted in the major news media.
Bronfenbrenner has been the recipient of many awards most notably the Kendall S.
Carpenter Memorial Advising Award in 2012, 3 Merrill Educator Awards, Labor Research
Association's Ernest DeMaio Labor Award in 2009, IRRA’s Outstanding Young Scholar
Award, ILR’s 60th Anniversary Outstanding Contribution to Labor Education Award, the
Labor Party’s first Karen Silkwood Award in 1998, the New York Labor History
Association’s John Commerford Labor Education Award in 2000, the General Mills Foundation
Award for Exemplary Undergraduate Teaching in 2003, the Robert N. Stern Mentoring Award
in 2007, and was selected to give the 24th Memorial Sefton Lecture at the University of
Toronto in 2006.
Finally, a central part of Kate’s work is teaching research to young people through
employing undergraduate research assistants on her policy research projects. Each year
students who have worked with Kate graduate from ILR and go on to research jobs with
unions, government or NGOs or to pursue graduate degrees in the social sciences using the
qualitative and quantitative research skills they learned working on these studies.
New Unity for Labor? (with Ruth Milkman and Kim Voss), Faculty Publications - Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, and Labor History (2005)
Contributions to Books
Working Papers and Research Reports
Testimony at Government Hearings