Effective January 2016,  IRLE eNews will respond to important changes in our overall outreach strategic plan.  A weekly, text-only edition will go to UC Berkeley faculty as a distinct publication, and appear while class is in session. The faculty edition will focus on news, events, and additional information that the editors believe will be of interest to our affiliated faculty members, and will be invitation only. Also the edition will be not archived for the public on the IRLE Web site.

A second edition will appear on a periodic basis that is aimed at our larger commnunity (see below).  It will appear periodically with summary news and information about IRLE activities, and will go to our greater community of campus associates, community members, policy makers and the general public. It will be archived on the IRLE Web site.

IRLE News and Events

The 2015-16 Year in Review

Jesse Rothstein

Dear Colleagues and Friends of IRLE:

As the 2015-16 academic year ends, I am taking this opportunity to reach to those of you who have shown an interest in our research and activities, and report on some of the exciting developments at IRLE.

The past year has been a time of substantial change and growth at IRLE, filled with staff reorganization, new initiatives, a building remodel currently under way, and of course ongoing high-impact research on topics of central concern to the labor market.

On that front, a particularly notable development this year has been a wave of minimum wage increases at the state and local levels. This spring, California passed the highest statewide minimum wage in the country: $15 an hour by 2021. There have also been important increases in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Jose, and in the state of New York. IRLE has long been a leader in research on the economics of the minimum wage, and this work has seen new prominence in the past year. The Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics (CWED) and the Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE, AKA the Labor Center) have continued to produce nationally-important research on the topic, including prospective impact studies of several of the proposed increases, and have contributed their expertise to the design of policies in several locations.

Another hot area for us this year has been the child care labor market. This has been the longstanding focus of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE). With new policy attention to the importance of high-quality child care settings for children's long-run educational and adult outcomes, CSCCE's work has been at the center of attention. This spring, CSCCE launched the State of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, a multi-year project to study the nation's early childhood workforce. In July, CSCCE will release the Early Childhood Workforce Index, which will include an interactive tool to view data on education jobs in every state. This coincides with a launch of their new website:

Important IRLE developments this year have been:

New staff and organization:  This spring we filled two new staff positions: Communications Director and Associate Director, which will significantly expand our capacity for outreach, program development, grant writing and other activities.

Communications Director Jacqueline (Jackie) Sullivan comes to us from UC Berkeley's Center for Latin American Studies, where she worked for many years bringing the center's activities and research to the attention of the university community and the media. Jackie will coordinate communications for IRLE and two of our centers, the Labor Center and CSCCE. She is now the contact for all external media:

Associate Director Sara Hinkley recently finished her PhD in City and Regional Planning, where she also serves as a lecturer. Sara has both professional and academic research experience on labor and employment issues. She is now the primary contact for all programmatic questions:

Policy briefs: We initiated a new series of policy briefs, short papers intended to bring academic research to a wider audience. Initial briefs considered the new California EITC; the importance of school finance systems; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Upcoming briefs will discuss new research on the impact of Head Start, the measurement of teacher quality and the use of the resulting measures for teacher evaluations, and the role of geography in determining the impact of the Great Recession on workers.

Expanded data services: We have instituted a new data lab at IRLE, capable of hosting secure datasets that are increasingly central to labor market research but that, due to confidentiality concerns, cannot be stored on individual desktops. The new lab has several "cold" terminals, not connected to the Internet, and also has the capacity to host other types of secure data (e.g., through networked "dumb" terminals that connect only to a single specified host). It also offers the capability to help institute and manage licensing agreements for these data.

Graduate student fellowships: IRLE instituted a new graduate student fellowship series this year, providing support to doctoral students completing theses on topics related to IRLE's mission. The initial fellowships, providing full tuition support plus a stipend for 2016-17, went to:

  • Caitlin (Katy) Fox-Hodess (Sociology), "Dockworkers of the World Unite: Transnational Class Formation and the New Labor Internationalism"
  • Mathias Poertner (Political Science), "Changing World of Work, Societal Linkages, and New Political Parties in Latin America"
  • Jeff Sorensen (Economics), "Establishment-Level Layoff Rules and the Cost of Job Loss"

All three will be presenting their work in the IRLE workshop series in the coming year.

Research support: IRLE greatly expanded its research support for faculty-initiated research projects this year. We made 23 awards, worth a total of nearly $300,000, for 2016-17. Most support a graduate student researcher to assist on a faculty research project; in many cases, these projects also form a portion of the student's dissertation. We are also continually working to expand our administrative research support capacity to assist with faculty research. Over the past year, we have dramatically enhanced our grants administration capacity, allowing us to streamline the process for faculty affiliates pursuing external funding for their research.

Conference on wage stagnation: In August, IRLE will host a one-day conference on the causes of wage stagnation. The conference, co-sponsored with the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will bring top labor market scholars from around the country to discuss diagnoses for recent wage stagnation and its role in increasing inequality.

Visiting scholars: IRLE has continued to host a vibrant community of Visiting Scholars. We had 28 visitors in 2015-16, and expect a similar number in the coming year. We've introduced a new policy, aimed at increasing engagement between visiting scholars and the IRLE community: All visitors must have a local sponsor. Contact Sara Hinkley for details.

Physical plant: We initiated a major renovation of the first floor of the IRLE building this year, aimed at freeing up more office and meeting space to support our growing organization. We hope to be able to inaugurate the new space by the beginning of the fall term. As part of this renovation, the IRLE Library print collection has been relocated to a new location on the basement level of the building.

We look forward to building in 2016-17 on this record of achievement in pursuit of our mission of teaching, research and community service to the citizens of California relating to policy-relevant topics in labor and employment. I look forward to hearing from you about how IRLE can better serve you, the members of the IRLE community.


Jesse Rothstein
Director, IRLE & Professor of Economics and Public Policy


Policy Brief Series »
Working Paper Series »
2016 Spring Colloquium Series »
2015 Fall Colloquium Series »


IR Journal

Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society

Volume 55, No. 2, April 2016 »
Volume 55, No. 1, January 2016 »
Volume 54, No. 4, October 2015 »
Volume 54, No. 3, July 2015 »



IRLE Centers & Programs

The Labor Center

Reports »
Briefs »
New Book »
Blog Posts »
Commentary »
Press »

Leadership Schools and Trainings

  • Organizing Strategies Forum, February 28‐March 1, 2016
  • C.L. Dellums Leadership School, March 19, 2016
  • Lead Organizer Training, April 20‐22, 2016
  • Labor Summer Internship Program, June 20‐August 20, 2016
  • Strategic Research, June 22‐23, 2016

Special Events

Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation
February 17, 2016

After Uber & Taskrabbit, Who Is Still An Employee?
February 24, 2016
Plenary Panel + Diversity Reception
Veena Dubal, Professor, Hastings School of Law; Jenny Yang, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Bhairavi Desai, co-founder, New York Taxi Workers Alliance; Mohamad Anwar Zadran, Taxi driver and organizer

USF Jack Pemberton Lecture + Reception
February 25, 2016
Orly Lobel, Professor of Labor and Employment Law, University of San Diego

Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law Symposium
February 26, 2016
Panel 1: Devolution of Work in the New App-Based, Tech Economy
Panel 2: Organizing Workers in the Tech Economy
Panel 3: Hidden Low Wage Workers in the Tech Economy
KEYNOTE and LUNCH 12:45pm–2pm
Panel 4: Immigrant Workers in the Tech Economy
Panel 5: Race and Gender Discrimination in the Tech Economy

Book Event and Community Engagement

  • Kent Wong, Editor and Director of UCLA Labor Center
  • Mario de Leon, Immigrant Youth Activist
  • Yu-Hui (Amy) Lin, Contributing Author
  • Angélica Vargas, Co-Chair of RISE at UC Berkeley

Senior Labor Specialist Katie Quan Retires

Katie QuanKatie Quan, senior labor specialist at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center), retired on June 30, 2016. Katie Quan worked at the Labor Center for nearly 20 years and has served as the chair, associate chair, and director of leadership development and specialized in research on global labor strategies. She has played a pivotal role in building the Labor Center in both size and influence. She helped establish our many leadership development programs and served as a mentor and inspiration to a diverse group of up and coming labor and community leaders who can now be found throughout the labor movement. In 2010, she co-founded the International Center for Joint Labor Research at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and was its co-director for four years. In 2014, she received a Fulbright grant to study the apparel supply chain in China at Peking University.

Prior to joining the Labor Center in 1998, Katie Quan was a garment worker, organizer, and international vice-president with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and its successor, UNITE. In 1992, she chaired the founding convention of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and since 2000, she has been a governing board member of the Worker Rights Consortium. Her organizing experiences were documented by Ruth Milkman in Women in Unions (Cornell ILR Press, 1993), and by Xiaolan Bao in Holding Up More than Half the Sky (University of Illinois Press 2001).

Katie will continue her global labor research as a senior fellow at the Labor Center.

Read about Katie Quan's early days of organizing garment workers in New York City: Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown

Read about Katie Quan's more recent work at the Labor Center by visiting: Labor in China

California Public Employee Relations

Pocket Guides

New Pocket Guides and New Editions, 2015-16 »

Forthcoming Titles and New Editions

Pocket Guide to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act
(16th edition)
Pocket Guide to the Educational Employment Relations Act (9th edition)
Pocket Guide to Workplace Investigations

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

New SECW Initiative »
Reports »
Commentary »
Media »

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

Briefs »