Labour Studies (LBST) 413

What Do Unions Do? The Theory and Practice of Trade Unions (Revision 3)

LBST 413 course cover

Permanently closed, effective May 3, 2018.

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: LBST 200 or LBST 202 is recommended. The course is designed for students who have already completed some labour studies or related courses.

Precluded Course: MAIS 514. (LBST 413 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for MAIS 514.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Labour Studies home page

LBST 413 is not available for Challenge.


Labour Studies 413 investigates the challenges that organized labour movements are facing today. The course starts with a review of the current state of trade unions in Canada before it proceeds to a case study looking at the effects of globalization on workers, communities and the environment in one particular area. The last part of the course addresses the challenge of globalization in a different way by looking at workers efforts to organize and improve their working and living conditions at different places and different times.

The purpose of the course is twofold. First, it will expand students' theoretical understanding of trade unionism and the labour movement by having them think about the purpose of trade unions. Second, it will encourage students to think critically about actual trade union practice by analysing a series of case studies.


To receive credit for LBST 413, you must complete all five assignments, achieving a minimum composite course grade of “D” (50 percent).

Assignment 1:
May Day Speech
Assignment 2:
Book Review
Assignment 3:
Research Proposal
Assignment 4:
Research paper
Assignment 5:
Forum Participation
25% 15% 10% 45% 5%
2500 words 1000 words not specified 4000 words  
due Week 7 due Week 14 due Week 18 due Week 22  

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Camfield, David. Canadian Labour in Crisis: Reinventing the Workers' Movement. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood, 2011.

Leadbeater, David, ed. Mining Town Crisis: Globalization, Labour and Resistance in Sudbury. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood, 2008.

Mason, Paul. Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global. Chicago: Haymarket, 2010.

Other Materials

The course Study Guide and other components are available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, March 11, 2013.

View previous syllabus