Cornell University

Sean Sweeney : Biography

Sean Sweeney is the Director and founder of the Global Labor Institute, a program of the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) based in New York City.  He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Industrial Relations from the University of Bath, England, in 1991.  Dr. Sweeney has been involved in college-level trade union and worker education since 1987 as full time faculty with Hofstra University's pioneering program with the UAW. He served as the Director of the Queens College Worker Education Extension Center from 1995-1999 before becoming Cornell's Director of Labor Studies. In recent years Dr. Sweeney has deepened and broadened Cornell ILR's work with the international labor community around economic alternatives, environmental sustainability, and climate protection. In 2007 Sweeney and the Global Labor Institute team worked with the Steelworkers and other unions to organize the North American Labor Assembly on Climate Crisis, the first major conference on unions and climate change. Sweeney and GLI then worked with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to build U.S. labor's presence at the UN's climate talks in Bali for COP 13, and he serves on the International Trade Union Confederation's climate working group. Sweeney and the Cornell GLI team also convened the Global Trade Union Task Force on Development Alternatives in 2006. He is a regular contributor to New Labor Forum and is the co-author of the UN Environment Program's 2008 report, Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World that was sponsored by the ITUC and the ILO.