UMass Amherst graduate program helps develop education labor activists

UMass Amherst graduate program helps develop education labor activists

union leadership & activismThe Union Leadership and Activism Program for Educators at UMass Amherst presents an exciting opportunity for MTA members who want to become leaders of the education labor movement.

Recognizing that public educators are at the center of the labor movement, the UMass Amherst Labor Center has developed the only graduate program of its kind — designed especially for Education Support Professionals, teachers and all other educators who work in preK-12 schools and higher education. Applications for fall 2021 admission are due by May 3 (residency dates: July 18 to July 28), although applications are accepted on a continuing basis depending on space in the incoming class.

MTA members can apply for a partial scholarship, funded through the MTA Public Relations/Organizing Campaign, to participate in the Union Leadership and Activism Program. Once this form is completed, please email it as an attachment to Laura Mullen at

Many of the students in this limited-residency master’s degree program are rank-and-file union members, elected leaders and union staff members. Students develop hands-on skills in areas such as public-sector labor law, public policy, organizing, strategic research and collective bargaining, while also learning the economic and historical context in which workers and their organizations operate.

Central to the curriculum is an intersectional approach to labor solidarity. The center believes that the struggle for economic justice is inseparable from the fight for racial and gender equity.

To learn more, please visit the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences - Labor Center.

About the Program:

  • Courses are offered during 10-day residencies at the UMass Amherst Labor Center in January or July. (During the COVID-19 pandemic, the residency requirement is flexible.)
  • Participants enroll in two courses per residency and complete writing assignments at home.
  • The master’s degree can be completed in 2½ years.

Listen to Sonia Fortin, the 2020 MTA ESP of the Year and a paraprofessional in the Sudbury Public Schools, who is currently in the ULA for Educators program.