Press Release

UC Berkeley experts are available for your Labor Day reporting

Issues include:

  • 2018 Supreme Court decisions affecting labor unions
  • Teacher walkouts
  • Employment challenges facing the formerly incarcerated
  • Minimum wages
  • Early childhood workforce

IRLE media relations contact: Jackie Sullivan, (510) 604-2289 or

Supreme Court decisions affecting workers

Jesse Rothstein is director of UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and professor of public policy and economics. He signed the amicus brief featuring 36 top economists, submitted to the Supreme Court in the case of Janus v. AFSCME, a case that centered on whether mandatory union dues violate First Amendment rights. The brief addressed the danger of the “free rider problem,” in which people are unwilling to pay for goods they can get for free, even if they value those goods highly. Related research includes teacher pay and teacher quality, and the role of education in economic mobility, unemployment, labor markets and inequality.

Contact Jesse Rothstein: (510) 495-0646 or

Teacher walkouts

Sylvia Allegretto, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics is an expert on public employee compensation and teacher pay. Related research includes US and California jobs and unemployment, low-wage work, inequality, pay gaps and right-to-work legislation.

Contact Sylvia Allegretto: (510) 289-9146 or

Employment Challenges Facing the Formerly Incarcerated

Steven Pitts, Associate Chair of UC Berkeley Labor Center, is an expert on employment challenges facing formerly incarcerated people. Other research includes the job crisis facing Black workers and strategies to address it.

Contact Steven Pitts via Jackie Sullivan, IRLE (510) 604-2289 or

Minimum Wage

Michael Reich, co-director of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics and professor of economics at UC Berkeley is a labor economist and expert on the living wage and the effects of minimum wages. His work on minimum pay standards for drivers for Uber and other ride-hailing apps was recently featured in the New York Times.

Contact Michael Reich: (510) 849-3368 or

Early Childhood Workforce

Lea J.E. Austin is the co-director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley. She is an expert on the public policies and workplace issues affecting the more than 12 million early childhood educators in the United States. Lea is a co-author  of the Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018, providing an up to date appraisal of workforce conditions and state-by-state policies.

Contact Lea Austin: (510) 646-0919 or

The UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) is an interdisciplinary center at the University of California, Berkeley that connects world-class research with policy to improve workers’ lives, communities, and society.