IRLE (formerly IIR) Celebrates its 60th Anniversary

The event attracted over 100 attendees, and it was held in the beautifully renovated IRLE Library Commons, which was dedicated in September 2006.  IRLE Director Michael Reich was pleased with the turnout, but surprised, given the content of the day’s offerings.  “California’s economy has grown dramatically since IRLE’s formation in 1945, he said.  “Our industrial production and global service sectors are booming, and as a state, we are pushing the envelope with respect to global environmental issues.  Each of these issues are closely linked with labor and employment concerns.”

Rigorous Debate—and Celebration

Clair Brown

The full day was as much a celebration as an academic forum. Breakfast and lunch were provided to all attendees, and a special wine and cheese reception ended the day’s events.  Nonetheless, the first panel, “Labor and Globalization,” set the tone:  moderator and labor specialist Katie Quan, Dick Walker (Geography), Clair Brown (Economics) and Jim Lincoln (Business Administration) all explored the increasingly complex links between employment issues in developing nations and first-world nations. 

Maria Echaveste

Following “Labor and Globalization,” Labor Specialist Steve Pitts moderated a very lively debate on Immigration issues, featuring Steve Raphael (Public Policy), Irene Bloemraad (Sociology), and Maria Echaveste (law).  This forum attracted many attendees who offered challenging questions to the presenters.  At one point, Maria Echaveste observed that whatever policy makers may do, the fact remains that new immigrants are already here, planners must keep that reality in the forefront of their thinking.

Art Pulaski

After a lunch that featured a humorous, yet insightful speech by Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, moderator (and CPER Director) Carol Vendrillo led a provocative discussion of California’s workforce issues.  The panel featured Tom Rankin, President Emeritus of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and Kim Voss, Chair of UC Berkeley’s Sociology Department.  Labor specialists Carol Zabin and Veronica Carrizales acted as discussants in the forum.

marcy Whitebook

IRLE Director Michael Reich moderated the final presentation of the day, which was titled “Public Policies for a Better California.” Netsy Firestein, Ken Jacobs and Marcy Whitebook provided incisive analyses of what is working, and also covered issues that do not find their way into public debate. 

At the end of the day, John Cummins, Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff to Chancellor Robert J. Birgenau, closed the day with warm remarks and interesting notes from UC Berkeley’s history of studying labor relations.  He then presented special awards to three past directors of IRLE:  Lloyd Ulman, Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Strauss, Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, and Clair Brown, Professor of Economics.

» 60th Anniversary Research Poster Session

See the Webcast

All four of the presentations were Webcast, and are available for viewing in two formats:  as a Webcast, and as a Podcast (suitable to MP3 players as well as computers).

» 60th Anniversary program, webcast, and photos