On November 27, 2012, Dr. Victoria Ashiru led her Labor Relations class on a field trip to the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is the umbrella organization of 56 U.S. labor unions, which collectively represent about 12 million Americans.
“The purpose of this field trip was to take the lecture out of the classroom and into the real world. I believe that taking the students to the AFL-CIO office will help them better understand and also get a better picture of how the U.S. labor relations systems seek to achieve major objectives of employment relationship (equity, efficiency, and voice) by striking a balance.”
AFL-CIO’s Facilities Manager, Mr. Zobrisky, served as tour guide to the VIU students and explained the history of the union as well as its current challenges with employers and the legal system. He also shared the history of the building and every single one of the 42 conference rooms that hold over 4,000 conferences a year.
After their visit to AFL-CIO, Dr. Ashiru treated her students to a scrumptious lunch at the International Monetary Fund. All the students very much enjoyed their real-world lecture.
VIU Student Reactions to the AFL-CIO Field Trip
“I am greatly thankful to Dr. Victoria Ashiru, who is committed to excellence through teaching our diverse student body. At Dr. Ashiru’s special invitation, my HR classmates and I visited the AFL-CIO office and the International Monetary Fund, both in Washington, DC, on November 27, 2012. We were privileged to learn about the history of the labor unions as well as the physical AFL-CIO office and all the conferences held yearly at the facility. We had the opportunity to ask our tour guide questions regarding the challenges faced by the labor union. After the tour, Dr. Ashiru surprised us with a lunch at the International Monetary Fund.
VIU students are unique, because we are one of the most diverse communities in the Washington DC area with students from over 60 different countries. Thus, our professors are constantly challenged with teaching students from very diverse cultures and require a wide-range of knowledge. Dr. Victoria Ashiru is one of the best professors I have ever had who has experience in many world class organizations such as International Monetary Fund. I would like to thank Dr. Ashiru, my lovely professor, for all you have done for us. Because of you, we did it!”
“The Labor Relations class was a very interactive one. At the beginning, it seemed to me we were talking basically about unions which I did not think were very active or relevant today. Dr. Ashiru changed my views and got me interested in the subject by getting us to work on current events such as the Chicago Teachers’ strike and Walmart labor relations issues.
Dr. Ashiru went further by taking us on a trip to AFL-CIO to get a first-hand idea of what the union really is. Our tour guide, Mr. Zobrisky, discussed the history of the union and its current state today. It was also a fun trip as we all had fun taking pictures all around the union building. I wish we did not have to leave, but I am sure I will make the trip again with the next Labor Relations class.
We ended our day at the International Monetary Fund. I have always dreamt of going there. In her thoughtful nature, Dr. Ashiru brought her vehicle and took us all to the IMF for a surprise lunch. I am sure the people around must have been wondering why we were all shouting and excited. Dr. Ashiru bought us all lunch and we had a nice time talking about all we had learned in the class. She drove us back to school and our journey back from DC was a noisy one, as every one of us had something to say in the vehicle. I think field trips are a good way for students to learn.”
“I had a great time on our field trip to AFL-CIO and the IMF. It was like dream come true and that particular experience has changed my attitude toward the labor union.
Honestly, in my view, the union in my home country, Thailand, was characterized as a third-party organization. After this visit, I realized the importance and relevance of the AFL-CIO and how they fight for the right of every employee and to achieve equality for everyone. The trip to the IMF was totally unexpected and for that I am very grateful.
This was a really great opportunity for me. Moreover, I would like to thank, Dr. Victoria Ashiru for her kindness and for providing us this great opportunity. I am very appreciative and have had a wonderful time to studying with her these two semesters.”
“It was a great pleasure to be able to participate in this field trip. When I saw the AFL-CIO firsthand, I felt they work for workers. I really appreciate Professor Victoria Ashiru and the other students in my class – we have learned a lot together.”