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I feel like we've been impacted by Labor Relations intensely this semester as everyone seems to be talking about it outside of class. I find the subject fascinating...

I would like to share a recent experience I had in regards to unionization: (Sojourner and Budd would love this...)

I was laboring at my regular job, Geek Squad, by helping out a client in regards to her cellphone. Her and I were talking about my classes and Labor Relations was brought up. She said that she was a member of the Teamsters. I had never run into anyone who was so supportive of a union. She was explaining how powerful it was in her life and how her whole family was part of it. Seems to run in the bloodline... I do not recall which sector of the Teamsters she was actually in but when I asked her what her industry was she replied with factory.

Here is where the story gets interesting: I have some vacation and sick hours accrued from when I worked full-time at Best Buy and asked my manager if I was able to use them, this was all in front of this customer as my manager was right next to me at the time. Obviously the client and I were on the personal level of where I felt like she wouldn't mind me asking my manager. My manager stated that I cannot use my vacation or sick hours as I'm a part-time employee and the client thought that was unfair and we should unionize. The managers stated that they needed to walk away as Best Buy is concerned about unionization. I was unaware of this. Following my appointment with the client, I spoke with a manager to ask why they think that Best Buy is so strongly concerned with unionization. It seems that the business model of putting the customer first and non-commission pay would be ruined if unions were to come into the picture.

On my own time, I looked into this further and was perplexed by Best Buy's history in unionization. Upon utilizing the googles, I was immediately presented with a Geek Squad attempt of unionization in 2009.

Click here if you wish to read about it!

Here is a response from a manager regarding the matter...

This is interesting stuff! Real world application FTW.

Yours truly,
Captain 'Merica

Back to school...

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Welcome to Minnesota

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Hi all,

I see that many of you are experiencing what Minnesota is like during the winter! But think... the Dakota's are even colder. Today we have an average temperature of -3. It's frosty.

Finals are around the corner. I have a feeling this week will be very hectic for everyone. Just focus and maintain you cool and it'll all work out.

It looks like everyone had a great time at The Depot with Zach! Ice-Skating is always a blast! I do hope that you maintain this excitement and go many more times throughout the winter months! Other ideas for the future might be snowboarding or skiing! Here are some captured moments:



Brenda said that she will be providing lunch for us either Monday or Wednesday. It's going to be tasty :)

For now, stay warm!



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Last weekend was an eventful one! The Human Resources and Industrial Relations Program held its first International Case Competition!

This competition consisted of 6 teams:

  • Rutgers University
  • HEC Montreal
  • Sun-yat Sen University (2 teams)
  • Ohio State University
  • Us

The company which we consulted was Feed My Starving Children. This is a non-profit Christian organization which centers its purpose to providing food to starving children around the world. It currently operates in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. It definitely plans to expand. In fact, our mission was to determine how to hire a Regional Manager for Africa.

We were able to visit the Eagan, MN location of FMSC and immerse ourselves in the culture and get a glimpse of what it is like to pack the food for the children. We all combined our efforts and packed 143 boxes of food, each weighing 12-14kg. This was a phenomenal feat! Everyone was able to experience what the purpose of the company really was.







Ultimately, we were treated very well. The guest schools had a positive impression of our school. As I was talking to many of the international students, they were very pleased with the way our building looked. We were all presented with wonderful food and hospitality as well The visiting schools were given hotel amenities at the Aloft off of Washington Ave. Beautiful hotel! We had our happy hour at the latter when all the festivities completed ;)

We placed 3rd! That was fantastic. The Ohio team took first with Montreal following. It was a great time. Everyone was very pleased and we were all able to get so much from the experience.

Stacy, Igor, and all of the student volunteers worked very hard to make this happen and it happened. Thank you all so much for this! It was a riot! We look forward to seeing how it turns out next time :)


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Halloween and Frankenstein

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So a weekend ago I was able to utilize my camera and attend the Frankensteiners Car Club show at the Anoka County Fairgrounds. It was a riot! Rat rods, 50's muscle, everything you could imagine all under a rainy sky. I was able to snap a few good shots and win some prizes.





I was also able to take some great shots of our fantastic city. I highly recommend everyone take advantage of our great weather as well as take a walk through the St. Anthony side of Minneapolis and visit the Mill City Museum. It's an awesome time.



Happy All Hallows' Eve.

Moving forward... GVC?

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Just want to remind everyone that Graduate Volunteer Consultants applications are due in 12 days, on the 30th of October, MMXIII/AC/CE. Tis' importante stuff.

The GVC will supply you with killer experience in the Human Resources field. I'm not a marketer for them I'm just someone who wants to get ahead in life. With this opportunity, we are able to get hands-on experience with real companies within the metro area. And who knows, we may even be able to get a job there once upon a day. We can relate all of the experiences we have with GVC to our resumes and definitely our interviews. I'm sure that everyone who applies will have the opportunity to grow and develop. I even remember the time I was warming up my chair, half-asleep, and drooling during Admitted Students Day when Ted Bauer mentioned GVC. I was actually pretty excited for the opportunity and e-mailed the dude right after. Finally something I can add to my resume which will give me Human Resources immersion.

EVERYONE SHOULD SIGN UP! <------ this is for clicking.

For all of the kids without offers yet, you'll be fine. Everyone, including myself, have been pretty stressed out and possibly annoyed, but things will be okay. Like I always say, everything happens for a reason. Maybe it was a good reason you weren't hired. You may not have been happy with that particular company. With time, everyone will fall into place and everyone will be satisfied. For now:

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Your bro,


Ein Prosit

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How is everyone holding up on this journey of dreams? Companies have been coming in and out faster than toddlers waiting for a turn to warm up Santa's knee. Everyone has been under pressure with the amount of school work and the internship opportunities. The information sessions also take up a bit of time but all-in-all everything will work out for everyone. Interviews are getting hectic but everyone seems to be giving positive feedback. Everyone is having fun and learning from each interview. We'll always do better on the next one ;)

I had come up with an idea to get everyone in the cohort to come celebrate the month of Oktober at Gasthof's in Northeast Minneapolis. It was a riot! Mother Nature was upset at the community during the evening but she was forgiving at times. Ultimately, the whole experience was outside under a tent where you could have your fill of authentic German ale. Who doesn't like that? They also had novelty items such as mugs, hats, boots, etc... Total immersion into the culture. Once the outdoor fiasco gave away, everyone scooted to the basement of Gasthof's where we danced to live polka followed by the top 20 hits by Miley Cyrus. We had quite the turnout of kids wanting to forget about class for a bit.


Thank you to all who came out!

I wish I was able to bring my camera for some great outdoor photography but unfortunately, I had no film... Yes I'm old school. 35mm photography. Fall photography is finally here and I will definitely update this contribution with any ideas I may have.

"Zicke, Zacke, Zicke, Zacke, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi"

Back on 'Merican soil...

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Hey kids, 

My name is Stan, a first year full-time MA-HRIR student, and I'm taking over this writing adventure for the next year! You'll either love it or hate it but that's completely up to you. I felt like the blog needed a new shoe shine so I polished it up a bit. So let me talk about myself for a little bit so we can all get familiar with the beard... I come from a land far, far, away called Bulgaria. It's a decent country on the brink of corruption but it's improving. At least that's what I hope. Its geographical location is in Eastern Europe right next to our Turkish and Greek brothers. We all share the body of water which we like to call the Black Sea. It's pretty salty but delivers a great swim. I actually just arrived back on 'Merican soil on August 23rd right before orientation started. The whole experience back was a riot since I haven't had the opportunity for 16 years. That's a little bit of time. It was good to see all of my extended family: Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins & homeless cats. Actually to jump on the homeless animal situation, they have it pretty good there. The people really look out for them and give them food. Pretty intelligent mammals as well... They definitely know how to protect themselves from thousand pound rolling coffins. Beyond the family sensitivity, I was able to see what the country was all about. I moved to these United States when I was at the age of 7. I can't say I remember too much about the country as I was still fresh into humanity. Now that I'm a bit older, 24, I can appreciate the experience so much more. The country has a phenomenal military history. I feel like everyone always wanted to take us over. We fought many battles against the Turks. Finally the Soviets showed us how to live life during the 1900's. My family lived under communist/socialist rule for most of their lives. Well my grandparents at least. They say they had it pretty good. Bulgaria has many monuments and buildings left over from the "good" times. The architecture is triumphant. Most of the people live in apartment buildings, condos in our understanding. The Balkans are also beautiful. I've never seen so much greenery in my life. The highways are a blast to drive on and the landscape just takes your breath away! I also had the opportunity to visit Athens, Greece for a few days! That was pretty sweet. I was able to step foot where much of Western Civilization was developed. The Parthenon was glorious. Unfortunately, much of the ancient rock was under renovation so it was surrounded by cranes and other constructional devices. I highly recommend everyone visit Greece. It's a bit on the pricey side but if you can look past the Euro, you'll have a riot!


These are my Bulgarian brothers during the Battle of Shipka against the Turks. Looks like we planned poorly and ran out of ammunition therefore we did the next intelligent thing: throw bodies and stones. We did win.

Aside from the novel I just wrote, we should talk about school! Yay for all of us getting into this educational institution. Looks like we'll be the bright young minds powering the country through its future obstacles. I think we'll be okay. Everyone in the program brings something new to the table. Our cohort is full of 59 kids. For the next two years, we're all stuck together but I feel like we'll develop lasting relationships. We definitely need to take advantage of each other and build our futures by collaborating and helping each other out. I'm really looking forward to working with all of you. Not a fabricated statement. 

The first couple of weeks have been a bit stressful for everyone... I would say. A lot of information was presented, most of which went in one ear and out the other, but all of which provided us with amazing information about the program. I love how we have so many resources to build our careers in Human Resources. Career services are beating their assistance into our heads non-stop. We don't really have a choice but to visit the Graduate Business Career Center and take advantage of the wisdom they can bestow upon us. The on-campus recruiting begins late September. We began perfecting our resumes and building our interviewing skills. We don't have too much time to balance everything with classes but I guess if you don't have 3 jobs like me, you'll be okay. We all live in a yellow submarine. 

Classes are pretty killer right now. We have fantastic professors who really know their (insert noun here). I really respect a professor who will take the time to explain a topic to you and apply real life examples to the subject. This is how I learn; this is how most students remember a subject. The academics really require you to apply your knowledge and critical thinking. My favorite thing about the Carlson School is that we are able to collaborate with others on topics regarding real life situations. It's as though you're out in the field and you're really structuring a company's staffing philosophy. Good stuff. We'll be prepped for the bulls as soon as we're out of here! 

In all honesty, I don't think it'll be as bad as everyone assumes. If anyone actually takes the time to read my journalistic expressions, my advice is: be yourself and give it your all. I've always believed that everything happens for a reason. If you didn't get the job you really wanted, it probably wasn't for you... But guess what, you're still alive! Regardless of what happens, we'll be the most successful bunch of rugrats that came out of this University. Everyone WILL find a gig. The dead only know one thing: it's better to be alive. 

I think this will conclude my post for now. I'll be placing my thoughts on here often. It's kind of fun. I've always wanted to blog about cigars, fast motorcycles, and women. I really wish to thank all of the faculty, second-year students, and Bill Clinton. Your warm welcome and effort in helping us through orientation was a phenomenal experience. We will all leave this program one day and look back thinking about everyone who made our dreams come true. Thank you all once again and Bill, thank you for allowing me to come to 'Merica.

Yours Truly,



Time marches on, spring may be coming and we see more of the sun each day as it shines on the Mississippi River. I encourage you walk to Carlson, and get some fresh air before your exciting day of classes. Classes are in full swing and students have finally adjusted to Term A schedule.

In Compensation and Benefits, taught by Professor Fossum, students learn about new laws that enforce different compensation strategies that are used to attract and retain top talent. An interesting topic that was brought up in recent lectures included the discussion of retirement and 401(k) plans. published an article that elaborates on the 401(k) plans and the increase in plan participation (Miller, 2013). A SHRM investment firm's report indicates that the largest plan service providers have seen an increase of 12 percent from 2011 to 2012. Retirement plans are a hot topic - specifically because of the 78 million baby boomers who are now or close to retiring within a couple of years.

Another crucial situation that could directly impact the HR professionals of today is the seating of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). In a SHRM article written by Allen Smith, President Obama's proposal to fill the three vacant seats of NLRB was rejected. The NLRB traditionally consists of five board members-at this time there are only two, with a need for three more individuals. Appeal seems likely, based on the White House's reaction to the opinion. The NLRB's purpose is to serve as prosecution of unfair labor practice cases (Smith, 2013). With three missing members, the ability to obtain effective board review is unlikely.

HR professionals often mediate discretions between employees, unions, and top management. NLRB plays a huge deciding factor among these HR professional's work and the consequences or protection of most union employees. Professor Sojourner has emphasized how important NRLB is in Labor Relations course; it will be interesting to watch how this unfolds.

Signing off,
Pao Kue

Winds are blowing hard across the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities and all of the MA-HRIR students have returned from Winter break for their second semester. Students are geared up for another full semester of academics and self-growth.

Our second semester core classes consist of Organizational Theory, Organizational Behavior, Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, and Compensation and Benefits. Outside these core classes, many have decided to take electives as well!

As students look toward finding information important to our core classes, is a great website to check to keep up-to-date with HR information. Recent SHRM studies found on the website claim:

  • 2013 Graduate students' salaries jump 3.4% from previous years
  • Diversity and inclusion outsourced advice will only be effective if inside leaders of firm greatly supports
  • Salary is the number one variable that matters most to job seekers (data by Survey)
  • Promotion policies can attract and retain talent
Professor Fossum introduced to us what we should expect in the Compensation and Benefits course. I found many articles on stating that SHRM anticipates Comp and Benefits to be a high growth field within Human Resource and Industrial Relations careers.

One of the main objectives in Organizational Behavior is to learn how firms will manage rapidly changing environments that have no geographic boundaries. Rising diversity in the workplace and society will have an affect on all firms. An article from SHRM was clear to state that diversity and inclusion is only effective and productive for a firm when inside leaders give great support and consistency to inclusions initiatives.

All in all, is a great website that gives refreshing updates on the HR news. Many of the articles updates correlate with the courses we are taking as 1st year MA-HRIR students. It gives an emphasis on the importance of the courses we are taking and how we will someday apply them to our very own daily work. Become a member and take advantage of tons of information at your fingertips!

This semester will be a fun and challenging one, no doubt!
Signing off- Pao Kue