From Michael Reich, Director

Michael Reich


On behalf of IRLE, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all visitors to our Web site, which provides comprehensive coverage of our activities, as well as extensive access to the full text of policy briefs, reports and other publications.

To give you an overview, I've included below a brief summary of IRLE's research, education and outreach missions, our publications and activities, highlights from some of our program units, and services we provide to faculty at UC Berkeley.

Mission of IRLE

IRLE, formerly the Institute of Industrial Relations, was founded in 1945 by Clark Kerr, who later became Chancellor of UC Berkeley and then President of the University of California system. Our research mission concerns the entire range of employment and workplace issues and involves sponsored research conducted by our affiliated faculty and our professional staff. Our education and outreach mission includes dissemination of recent research—to other academics, to policymakers, and to the public, as well as training programs for California unions, community groups and business leaders.

Since work touches every part of our lives, our mission continues to be of central concern to academics and to the public. As the pace of economic change accelerates, the importance of new workplace issues and the challenges of working life have also grown. As the global economy becomes increasingly interlinked, the role of the California workforce within the Pacific Rim region has grown in importance.

The Affiliated Faculty

Our affiliated faculty hail from more than a dozen academic disciplines and professional schools (see our pages on Affiliated Faculty, and on Research). The Berkeley campus has successfully attracted many new faculty members who are interested in studying workplace issues—including sociologists, economists, political scientists, public policy professionals, law professors and engineers. IRLE is pleased that over 65 Berkeley faculty members have chosen to affiliate with us.

IRLE faculty seminars are scheduled regularly during the academic year (see Colloquium Series).

Publications and Centers

IRLE is home to some of the leading journals and publications in our disciplinary area. Beginning in 2004-2005, IRLE has begun publishing policy briefs, which offer succinct and highly focused analysis on key issues for policy makers. IRLE's scholarly journal, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, has consistently been ranked as q leading journal in the field. The IRLE Faculty Working Paper Series received over 50,000 downloads last year alone. The Center for the Study of Childcare Employment publishes groundbreaking studies on the growing importance of quality child care in the working lives of Americans.

The Center for Labor Research and Education (The Labor Center) is our principal outreach program (see our Programs page for a full list). The Labor Center conducts research on the California workforce, offers workshops and programs, and provides UC Berkeley students with opportunities to learn about and become involved in labor-management issues.

IRLE's research library is a valuable resource for faculty and students and a gateway between the University and the community. It maintains print and digital collections focusing on labor and employment. The Library also acts as the “digital publisher” for IRLE’s own publications, and has also written computer software that is being used (license) by seven state Health Exchange Networks under the Affordable Care Act. The library staff can also provide you assistance on searches, collections and reference materials.

Our electronic newsletter, IRLE eNews, is published monthly during the academic year. You are welcome to subscribe.

Services to Faculty for Grants

Each spring IRLE conducts a grants program for UC Berkeley faculty research; the call will be included on this website. Our administrative team can assist you with all research support needs, whether submitting a grant proposal, hiring a graduate student researcher, organizing a conference/seminar or planning international research collaborations. Our staff will also assist you with all of the various matters that might arise as you pursue your project, working in conjunction with the Research Enterprise Service (RES) service that is overseen by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Our goal is to facilitate the administrative and bureaucratic requirements of your project, so that you can focus on the research. You can reach our team by linking to the IRLE directory in our Website.


Contact IRLE