Certified Labor Relations Professional Certification




    We offer two Certified Labor Relations programs designed to help you at different stages of your career. If you are not sure which one is right for you, ask yourself the following questions.

    Click on each true statement about yourself. The column with the most check marks will be the program best suited to meet your needs.

    Certified Labor Relations Professional

    Certified Labor Relations Leader

    If you have more check marks in this column, you are in the right place!

    Continue below to learn more about the CLRP program.

    If you have more check marks in this column, the CLRL is the program for you.

    Take me to the CLRL program



The Certified Labor Relations Professional (CLRP) is a comprehensive training program designed to equip newly hired or aspiring labor relations professionals with the fundamental knowledge, skills, and tools required to excel in a role that has labor relations accountability. This program provides a solid foundation in labor relations principles, strategies, and best practices, ensuring that participants are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of a unionized environment.



MODULE 1: Framework for Understanding Labor Relations

The training program begins by providing participants with a comprehensive overview of labor relations, including its historical context, key stakeholders, the objectives of US labor relations, and the legal framework. Participants will gain a clear understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles that underpin US labor relations, laying the groundwork for further learning.

MODULE 2: Managing in a Unionized Organization

Participants will learn the key concepts and responsibilities of working in an organization where employees are represented by a union. They will develop essential skills in contract administration and utilizing disciplinary processes.

MODULE 3: Dispute Resolution and the Fundamentals of Labor Arbitration

This module will equip participants with the skills necessary to effectively handle employee grievances and determine when cases should be taken to arbitration. They will develop a foundational understanding of the labor arbitration process, the legal landscape of labor arbitration and key factors to consider when selecting an arbitrator.

MODULE 4: Introduction to Negotiating Labor Management Agreements

Participants will learn what it takes to be successful in bargaining a union contract. Topics include the theory behind bargaining, the two most common bargaining styles, and the steps required to succeed at the bargaining table. We also will discuss various union and company tactics that are employed both at the bargaining table and in sidebar discussions.

MODULE 5: Interpersonal Skills

Building strong relationships and maintaining effective communication with stakeholders is vital in labor relations. This module will focus on developing participants' communication skills, including active listening, minimizing bias, building influence and special considerations when communicating with executives. They will hone their critical thinking skills and learn to foster trust, engage in constructive dialogue, and promote positive labor-management relationships.

MODULE 6: Applying the Learnings

Practice and feedback is essential for real learning to occur. Participants will use all of the concepts covered throughout the course to work through challenging case studies. They will have an opportunity to reflect on their learning, clarify their understanding of and ability to apply concepts and identify key takeaways.

Included: Participants will receive a set of note-taking guides/manuals, a Planning and Goal Setting workbook, and links to myriad valuable resources.



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 Professional. They are entitled then to use the designation CLRP 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.



Certified Labor Relations Leader

Exclusively designed for labor relations managers and leaders

Learn more

Negotiating Labor/Management Agreements for Competitive Advantage

Achieving HR success through strategic negotiations

Learn more



July 29 - August 27, 2024

Meeting Mondays & Tuesdays
1:00pm - 5:00pm ET
Live Interactive Program via Zoom





  • This is a 5-week program meeting on Mondays & Tuesdays from 1:00pm - 5:00pm ET
    • Week 1: Monday, July 29 & Tuesday, July 30, 2024
    • Week 2: Monday, August 5 & Tuesday, August 6, 2024
    • Week 3: Monday, August 12 & Tuesday, August 13, 2024
    • Week 4: Monday, August 19 & Tuesday, August 20, 2024
    • Week 5: Monday, August 26 & Tuesday, August 27, 2024
  • All of our classes include strategies to maximize learning and ensure an enjoyable, informative learning experience.

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


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, has developed labor relations expertise during a 30-year career in plant, business, and corporate labor relations roles for Alcoa and its spinoff, Arconic. He retired from corporate life as the Director of Labor Relations for Arconic. He has been teaching with Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations since 2013, creating and conducting labor relations training programs for the School. He graduated from the program with a Master’s degree in 1990.

As Arconic’s Director of Labor Relations he was accountable for the labor relations function for the corporation. He has led and managed the relationships and efforts required to create successful labor outcomes. In addition to redesign efforts and multiple stand-alone contract negotiations, he and his team also negotiated the master contract between Arconic and the United Steelworkers.

He is a subject matter expert with an extensive background in leading cost improvement initiatives, contract negotiations, managing stakeholder communications, contract administration, as well as grievance and arbitration advocacy. He has negotiated with various unions in the US and Canada, including the United Steelworkers, United Autoworkers, and International Association of Machinists. He has provided training, advice, and counsel across Alcoa and Arconic locations in the US, Canada, and Europe.

He has been affiliated with Michigan State’s School of Human Resources since 2013 as an Adjunct Professor. In this role he has developed and conducted labor relations training programs for labor practitioners and line leaders. These programs include customized programs for specific clients and open enrollment programs for a broader population.

In addition to teaching for the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Greg continues to provide consulting expertise and training programs through his consulting firm, Brison Taylor LLC. Its goal is to help organizations looking to improve their labor relations skill sets and operational efficiency.

Joan Hill

Joan Hill, JD, practiced law for 13 years with a small union-side law firm in Southern West Virginia before taking a position in the legal department of the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Union in Nashville, Tennessee. She was the Director of Research and Education for PACE and after the merger, remained in the Education Department of the United Steelworkers International Union in both Nashville and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As an educator, she mostly taught legal subjects including ADA, FMLA, labor law, and labor arbitration.

Before retiring in Alabama, Ms. Hill served as the Southern Board Representative for the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) and on the Steering Committee for the Labor and Employment Committee of the National Lawyers’ Guild. Since retirement, Joan has been approved by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Roster of Arbitrators, as a neutral to resolve labor disputes in both the private and public sectors.

Tina M. Riley

Dr. Tina M. Riley, is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University and served as the School's Director of Professional Development and Associate Director for 20 years.

She 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.

Her engaging and holistic approach to teaching 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 including leadership and interpersonal skills development, labor relations, developing inclusive workplaces 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, India, and Nigeria report finding her programs to be highly beneficial both for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Dr. Riley holds a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education, with a concentration in Communications, and a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University.

One or more instructors listed above will be teaching


  • Registration will close 2 business days before the start of the program or earlier if program enrollment reaches capacity.



  • Cancellation more than 30 calendar days before program start date: Full refund
  • Cancellation 14 – 29 calendar days prior to program start date: 50% cancellation fee, remainder of program fee refunded
  • Cancellation 13 or fewer calendar 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.
  • Participants may send a substitute from the same organization for the same program and date by notifying Kristi White via email at least 5 calendar days in advance of program start date.

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 32.5 continuing education credit hours towards Professional Development Program recertification.

Learn more about Recertification


Questions? We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this or any of our training programs. Please contact Director of Professional Development, Melanie Zaremba at mzaremba@msu.edu.