Certified Labor Relations Leader - CLRL





Labor and employee relations professionals need specialized knowledge and skills to thrive in a unionized organization. From understanding the objectives of US labor relations to complying with federal and state labor laws, a solid foundation is the key to success.

This comprehensive certification program will provide you with the in-depth information you need as you:

  • Negotiate labor/management agreements
  • Lead in a unionized organization
  • Manage unionized employees
  • Interpret contract language
  • Respond to grievances
  • Represent the employer in arbitration hearings
  • Manage labor relations in your organization

By participating in this 5-day program, you will:

  • Differentiate yourself with a certification from one of the best Schools of Human Resources and Labor Relations
  • Gain a solid foundation in US labor relations
  • Effectively negotiate labor/management agreements
  • Ensure that labor agreements are properly administered
  • Minimize grievances and win arbitration cases
  • Comply labor laws, including
    • The National Labor Relations Act
    • State laws regarding Public Sector collective bargaining
    • Right-to-Work legislation
  • Develop an effective labor relations strategy



Both experienced and novice labor relations professionals will benefit from the class. The CLRL class provides a framework for understanding US labor relations from both a legal and historical perspective and then moves into practical applications such as current legal trends, best practices in contract negotiations, managing grievances and winning at arbitration.



Professional credentials are more important today than ever before. Earning your professional certification from MSU's School of Human Resources & Labor Relations, one of the best and most respected Human Resources/Labor Relations Schools in the country, demonstrates mastery of content and commitment to the field of labor relations.

Stay up to date in this ever-changing field through biannual recertification. MSU's recertification program provides recognition and validation for lifelong learning and professional development in which HR professionals regularly engage.



Individuals who successfully complete the course, take part in discussions and exercises, and pass the required comprehensive examination will be recognized by Michigan State University's School of Human Resources & Labor Relations as a Certified Labor Relations Leader. They are entitled then to use the designation CLRL after their name.

Certification is only given to those who attend the entire program and pass the examination. They should expect a notification with their certificate via email two- to three-weeks after the completion of the program.



Lessons in Labor Relations

Monthly short courses for management and labor relations professionals 

Learn more

Negotiating Labor/Management Agreements for Competitive Advantage

Prepare for your upcoming labor/management contract negotiations

Learn more



We are currently working on our 2023 calendar. Certified Labor Relations Leader dates will be available in the near future.


  • Day 1: Labor History and the Legal Framework for US Labor Relations
    Gain critical insights for success and legal compliance
  • Days 2 & 3: Contract Negotiations
    Experience the process through mock negotiations
  • Day 4: Administering the Labor Contract
    Learn the meaning of Management Rights, Past Practice, and more
  • Day 5: Grievances and Arbitration
    Conduct a mock grievance and present your case to an actual Arbitrator


Mary A. Bedikian

Mary A. Bedikian, JD, is the former District Vice President, Detroit Region, of the American Arbitration Association, an organization for which she worked for 28 years. Her extensive experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) spans many sectors and includes training mediators and arbitrators in both the process and substance of ADR. Ms. Bedikian is an instructor for Administering the Labor Contract, Managing Grievances, and Preparing for Arbitration.

John P. Beck

John P. Beck, M.A., is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He previously served as associate director of the School, primarily in charge of two of the School's outreach units, the Labor Education Program and Union Management Initiatives. He also co-directs a project (with Karen Klomparens, the Dean of the MSU Graduate School), "Building Mutual Expectations and Resolving Conflicts in Graduate Education," on the use of interest-based conflict resolution approaches for graduate students and their faculty mentors. John holds degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He worked for five years on the staff of the University of Michigan Labor Studies Center. He has taught labor studies on the community college level in both Oklahoma and Michigan and has taught history and education courses at the university level.

Stacy Hickox

Stacy A. Hickox, JD, practices employment and labor law with Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch in Washington, D.C.  She began working with KCNF after a fifteen-year career as a professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at Michigan State University, where she taught in both the Human Resources & Labor Relations masters program and the Human Capital & Society undergraduate program. Her research focused on barriers to employment for people with disabilities and a criminal record, as well as ways to address harassment and bullying in the workplace. Stacy attended the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and received her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Greg Freehling

Greg Freehling, MLIR has been leading and managing the relationships and accountability required to create successful labor outcomes for over 30 years. He was the Director of Labor Relations for Arconic at his retirement. In this role, he was accountable for the global labor relations for the corporation. His career spans plant and corporate responsibilities across Alcoa and its spin-off Arconic, as a labor relations manager, human resources manager, and corporate labor relations consulting and administration duties. He is a subject matter expert with an extensive background in contract administration, grievance and arbitration advocacy and contract negotiations. He has provided training, advice, and counsel across Alcoa and Arconic locations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He's developed and conducted labor relations training programs for labor relations and line supervisors and leaders, and managed stakeholder communications before and during negotiations. In addition, he has been teaching courses for the School of Human Resources and Industrial Relations Professional Development program for the past eight years.

Tina Riley

Tina M. Riley, is an Associate Professor, Associate Director, and Director of Professional Development in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. She holds a PhD in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education, with a concentration in Communications, and a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University.

Dr. Riley is a results-based educator and executive coach with expertise helping individual leaders, and organizations, achieve their full potential through high-impact communications that build trust and promote inclusion and engagement.

She adopts an engaging and holistic approach to teaching that facilitates learners’ ability to move from theory to practice. Her teaching style makes complex concepts accessible to graduate students and seasoned professionals alike. Dr. Riley teaches academic and professional development classes on a variety of HR and leadership topics including communications, leadership development, managing change, diversity and inclusion, and conducting workplace investigations.

With her passionate and engaging style, Dr. Riley develops and presents customized leadership development programs for both public and private sector organizations, from manufacturing to the Courts. Organizational leaders and HR professionals from across the globe including Bahrain, Cameroon, Canada, Georgia, Nigeria have participated in her workshops.

One or more instructors listed above will be teaching


  • Registration closes 2 business days before the start of the program.



  • Certification is only given to those who attend the entire program and pass the examination.




    • Cancellation more than three weeks prior to the program start date: full refund.
    • Cancellation two weeks prior to the program start date: 10% cancellation fee; remainder of program fee refunded.
    • Cancellation after program materials have been posted/provided to participants (normally 2 days prior to program start date): no refund.
    • Cancellation fees may be waived if the participant registers and attends the same program within 12 months. Fees may only be waived once.

MSU reserves the right to cancel programs when enrollment criteria are not met or for conditions beyond its control. Any additional costs incurred by the enrollee of canceled programs are the responsibility of the enrollee.



  • MSU's Federal ID Number is 38-6005984
  • Business casual attire.
  • Please, no audio or video recording.


NOTE: Due to the significant disruptions caused by COVID-19, we are temporarily reducing the number of continuing education credits required for recertification to 14 credits. This reduction applies to recertifications that are due in December 2022.

This program has been approved for 38.5 continuing education credit hours towards Professional Development Program recertification.

Learn more about Recertification



  • They are short answer, true/false, and multiple choice
  • Other than the 16 days, the test is not timed. The exam is due at 11:55 p.m. ET on the 16th day after the last day of class
  • Participants can work on the exam over time. Their answers will be automatically saved as they're working on it. They can change their answers as many times as they wish, until they hit the "submit" button. The submit button is at the end of the exam.
  • A minimum of 75% is required to pass the exam and earn certification



  • Program begins at 8:30am ET
  • Certification examination
  • Certificate of completion
  • In-person programs include:
    • Continental breakfast and networking lunch each day
    • Registration and continental breakfast begins at 8:00am
    • Travel and hotel expenses are not included
  • Space is limited, so we advise registering as soon as possible to secure your participation



  • We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this training program. Please contact Program Coordinator, Kristi White at whitekr@msu.edu



  • You can bring this program on-site for your team or virtually through Zoom. It will lay the groundwork for success, provide a common framework and language as well as incorporate your organizational challenges. Contact Program Coordinator, Kristi White at whitekr@msu.edu to discuss how you can multiply the benefits of MSU programs and save money by bringing this and other programs to you.

Questions? We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this or any of our training programs. Please contact Program Coordinator, Kristi White at whitekr@msu.edu.