IRLE and its centers are home to experts who can provide insightful analysis opinions and comment on a wide range of labor and employment issues.

For interview requests, email IRLE’s Communications Director Penelope Whitney at

Sylvia Allegretto Sylvia A. Allegretto
Areas of expertise: minimum wages, subminimum wages received by tipped workers, US and California jobs and unemployment, low-wage work, inequality, pay gaps, teacher pay and benefits, unionization, public sector workers, Right-to Work legislation, basic family budgets

Lea Austin
Areas of expertise: early childhood workforce, professional development in early childhood education, educational leadership development

Annette Bernhardt
Areas of expertise: labor markets, future of work, low-wage work, immigrant workers, labor standards policies, living–wage jobs, enforcement of employment and labor laws, the gig economy, inequality, technology and low-wage work

Miranda Dietz
Areas of expertise: health care, health reform in California, the uninsured, labor standards enforcement

Sara Hinkley
Areas of expertise: local public finance, economic development, unions, low-wage work, urban inequality

Ken Jacobs
Areas of expertise: health care, low-wage work, minimum wage, living wage and labor standards, unions, and public policy

Laurel Lucia
Areas of expertise: health care policy, Affordable Care Act, uninsured in California, health insurance for immigrants

Rebecca McKee
Areas of expertise: California public sector labor and employment law

Steven Pitts
Areas of expertise: Black workers, alternative strategies for worker organizing, union leadership development

Nari Rhee
Areas of expertise: pensions, retirement security, public pension reform

Michael Reich
Areas of expertise: labor economics, minimum wage, employment, living wages

Jesse Rothstein
Areas of expertise: inequality, unemployment, tax policy, local public finance, value added, teacher quality, black-white gap, segregation, economics of education, labor market

Marcy Whitebook
Areas of expertise: early childhood workforce research and policy, early childhood systems and policy, teacher work environments and the relationship to children’s development and learning, economic well-being of early educators, and children’s development and learning

Carol Zabin
Areas of expertise: labor and the green economy, labor markets, workforce development and training, sector strategies for improving low-wage jobs, labor standards, immigrant workers, farm workers