Remembering George Strauss

Professor Emeritus George Strauss passed away on November 27th.  In addition to serving on the UC Berkeley faculty for 30 years, Professor Strauss served as director of IRLE when it was known as the Institute of Industrial Relations, is a former editor of our journal, Industrial Relations, and was an active member of the IRLE community for over half a century. Professor Strauss was a revered colleague who made profound impacts on his colleagues and students through his research, teaching, and mentoring. He was a giant in the field of Industrial Relations. On behalf of the IRLE community, we offer our sincere condolences to Professor Strauss’ family, friends, and colleagues.

The obituary below outlines George’s long and distinguished career.


George Strauss, age 97, passed away peacefully at home in Berkeley on 27 November 2020. Raised on Staten Island, New York City, he was greatly influenced as a youth by the Great Depression and the plight of the working man which no doubt influenced his choice of profession.

George is survived by his daughters Emilie Strauss and Elizabeth Strauss, and his sister Miriam Rosenthal. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Helene Strauss, in 2012 after 55 years of marriage. George and Helene, known as “The Poodles”, were a devoted couple who loved reading, California’s beautiful wildlands, and throwing lavish faculty parties. Other interests of George’s included conservation, maps, hiking, history, and architecture. They traveled extensively, especially in Europe and Australia. This included visits to family members in Belgium.  George also loved visiting museums, and while there was notorious for reading every sign thoroughly and remembering the information.

George was Professor Emeritus at the Haas Business School, University of California, Berkeley, teaching there for 30 years (1961 – 1991). He was the recipient of an honored University Citation.  Prior to that, he taught at the University of Buffalo from 1954 – 1961, after earning his PhD from MIT in economics. He was a visiting Professor and Scholar at various Universities in the US, Europe, and Australia. He had many friends and former students around the world who treasure having crossed paths with him.  He was a prolific author, first publishing a successful textbook, as well as author of 12 books, more than 150 journal articles, and editor of 12 additional books. He was the director of the Institute of Industrial Relations (now Inst. for Research on Labor & Employment). George edited the journal “Industrial Relations” for many years, and edited many articles for other academic journals. Beyond his professional interests, he volunteered in several capacities with the “Berkeley Coop”.  In 2020, a book was published on the history of the Coop and George was honored that the author, Greg Patmore (Emeritus Professor of Business and Labour History, Univ. of Sydney) dedicated the book to George and Helene.

More details about George’s career can be found at:

We are grateful to Roger Lamm, a former graduate student of George’s, Professor (retired) at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA School of Economics and Business Administration, for assembling academic career information.

In lieu of flowers, donations in George’s memory might be sent to the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment (UCB) Library, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, or the Sierra Club.

While it is not possible to have a ceremony in his honor until COVID has abated, we hope to arrange for one in the future.

The Family of George Strauss