Carlson School of Management News

Fourth Class of Labor Activists Graduates from Minnesota Union Leadership Program

Friday, May 30, 2014

On May 15, 2014, members from a variety of labor organizations completed the Minnesota Union Leadership Program (MULP), an educational series created to develop the participants' leadership potential and their understanding of the challenges that working people face.
The Labor Education Service of the University of Minnesota has coordinated MULP since 2010, training more than eighty participants to date--with over twenty participants already signed up for the next series that begins in September of 2014 and runs until the following May.

After completing the final class on May 15, the 2013-2014 participants were joined by their families, LES staff, and officials from the sponsoring organizations gathered for a graduation ceremony at the Cargill Building on the University of Minnesota campus.
Participants come from a wide variety of unions, including the trades, public employment, health care, education, and services. Attendees are chosen and sponsored by their organizations to attend the MULP series of six full days of instruction over nine months. The graduating class of 2014 includes MULP's first completing participant from an allied community organization, the Minneapolis Urban League.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, graduate Rich Swanson, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 110, said "Without this class, I would never have had the opportunity to hear about so many issues outside of my union. . . . With these classes, you redefined what the labor movement means to me."

Dialogue between members of various unions is a defining feature of the MULP series.

The last 2013-2014 MULP class and graduation were significant for another reason: for Mary Bellman, labor educator with LES, who has been with MULP from the beginning, was instrumental in developing the program, and was the 2013-14 MULP coordinator, these were her final official MULP functions. Mary is leaving to continue her work in labor education at Penn State University.

If you would like more information about LES and the Minnesota Union Leadership Program, contact Russell Raczkowski, the 2014-2015 MULP coordinator, at 612-301-7705 or For general information about LES and its other services call 612-624-5020 or email

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