IRLE Updates - Letter from the Director
Dear friend of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment,
Recent headlines remind us that in today's United States, race still matters-a lot. Angry and fearful reactions to President Obama's long-overdue executive order, which opens temporary legal residence opportunities to millions of additional migrants, highlight the racial stigmatization of immigrants in the minds of the American public. Police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and dozens of other young African American men have sparked nationwide protests and reminded us that not only do black workers face unemployment rates twice as high as white, but they confront discrimination and even violence in most dimensions of life. The IRLE's programs analyze, conduct education on, and work to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.
The Institute's Academic Unit, for instance, recently presented UCLA professor Renee Tajima-Peña's film Labor Women, profiling LA labor activists of color, and co-hosted Christina Greer of Fordham University, talking about her book Black Ethnics. Upcoming colloquia include Florida Atlantic University's Talitha Leflouria speaking on her new book Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, and an April conference will examine "Race, Labor, Sports, and Entertainment. (For events, click here.)
In July, the Academic Unit released Can I Ever Retire?, about the difficult economic situation of Filipino operators of long-term care facilities. We recently secured a Ford Foundation grant comparing organizing of domestic workers and informal construction workers---two workforces with high concentrations of marginalized racial and ethnic groups-across five countries, placing US experiences in a broader context, The Labor and Workplace Studies Minor, which once again earned 100% "satisfied" in numerous indices in the UCLA Senior Survey, is offering a course lineup strong on analysis of the situations of communities of color-including Rev. James Lawson's legendary Nonviolence and Social Movements class.
The IRLE's Labor Center unit wrapped up another Dream Summer, placing scores of immigrant youth with immigrant-serving organizations across the country. The Labor Center's Black Workers Center is working to replicate its model of advocacy, support, and education in other cities. The Labor Center will soon publish two new books: Dreams Deported, on the deportation crisis, and Nonviolence and Social Movements, laying out Rev. Lawson's approach based on his course. (For publications from IRLE and its units, click here.)
The Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH), another IRLE unit, also targets many of its activities to workers of color, who are at especially high risk from workplace hazards. LOSH recently collaborated with the Labor Center on a Sacramento Legislative Briefing on safety and health sponsored by the Speaker, where LOSH staff emphasized racial disparities. Coming up this winter, LOSH and the Academic Unit will present "Work and Health", a day-long action-oriented research workshop on achieving healthy workplaces, especially for more disadvantaged workforces.
Race and ethnicity are only two of many facets of work and employment that the IRLE explores in its programs. I encourage you to peruse our website to find out more about what we're up to. Your donation provides critical help to bolster this diverse programming. Best wishes for the holidays and for a happy, just, and peaceful 2015!
Professor of Urban Planning and Sociology
Director, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment