Certified Labor Relations Leader - CLRL





Beginning in 2023, the Certified Labor Relations Leader - CLRL program has been redesigned for those with 5 years of experience or more or those in or preparing for a leadership role in a unionized organization.

This is a new program. If you have been referred by a friend or colleague who participated in a previous CLRL program and want to take the same program, you will want to register for the Certified Labor Relations Professional (CLRP) program. The CLRP program is designed for professionals with fewer than 5 years of experience working in a unionized organization.

The CLRL class includes content on:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Contract negotiations (strategic focus, international v. local negotiations)
  • Importance of US politics (changes in the NLRB based on the Administration, Supreme Court rulings, etc.)
  • Interacting with the media, messaging
  • International LR systems

The CLRP is not a pre-requisite for the CLRL, but it does provide a solid foundation and nice progression from tactical to strategic labor relations.



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.

The CLRL is designed for those in, or moving into, a labor relations leadership position. The program is strategic in nature and includes opportunities to network with labor relations leaders from other organizations. 

Topics Include:

  • Contract negotiations - a strategic perspective, including:
    • What can we do now to get what we need 3 contracts from now?
    • International v. local negotiations
    • Preparing your negotiating teams
  • External Influences
    • US Political influences
      • Changes in the NLRB based on the Administration
      • Supreme Court Rulings
      • Environmental issues and regulations
    • Social influences
    • Demographic influences
  • Interacting with the media
    • Identifying spokespersons
    • Who should, and should not, talk with the media
    • Best practices when interacting with the media
    • Dealing with difficult questions
    • Social media and employees' rights
    • Messaging
  • International labor relations systems

By participating in this 11-session program, you will:

  • Differentiate yourself with a certification from one of the best schools of Human Resources and Labor Relations in the country
  • Enhance your leadership and strategy skills
  • 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
  • Learn about key aspects of International Labor Relations



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



June 5 - July 11, 2023
Live Interactive Program via Zoom





  • This is a 11-session program primarily meeting on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1:00pm - 5:00pm ET
    • Week 1: Monday, June 5 & Tuesday, June 6, 2023
    • Week 2: Monday, June 12, Tuesday, June 13 & Wednesday, June 14, 2023
      • Negotiation Week: 8:30am - 4:30pm ET
    • Week 3: Monday, June 19 & Tuesday, June 20, 2023
    • Week 4: Monday, June 26 & Tuesday, June 27, 2023
    • Week 5: Monday, July 10 & Tuesday, July 11, 2023
      • Week 5 will skip a week as there will be no class during the week of July 4, 2023
  • All of our classes include strategies to minimize Zoom fatigue and ensure an enjoyable, informative learning experience.

MSU employee discount available. Please contact Kristi White at whitekr@msu.edu for more information.


  • Module 1: Leadership and Strategy
  • Module 2: Contract Negotiations
  • Module 3: Dispute Resolution
  • Module 4: 2024 Influences
  • Module 5: International Labor Relations 


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.

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.



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.