About the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)
IRLE was originally founded as the Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR). The impetus for a coordinated research program about labor and employment predates World War II, and may be considered to have begun in the 1920s. At the time, the University of California, Berkeley was home to the most influential labor economists of the day, including Ira Cross, Paul Taylor and Charles Gulick. Berkeley had one of the first Labor Education schools, and Berkeley faculty were especially active in San Francisco's labor relations during the turbulent years of the 1930s.
In 1944, University President Gordon Sproul and California Governor Earl Warren together planned the inception of the Institute of Industrial Relations, to be founded at Berkeley and Los Angeles. Governor Warren asked President Sproul to enlarge its educational base in labor and industrial relations, and so facilitate, "open and honest labor-management relationships." This important focus on labor-management cooperation defined what came to be known as the "California 'School' of industrial relations:" a strong bias for communication, cooperation and interaction between unions and management.
The California legislature formally approved the creation of IRLE in 1945 under AB 391, with Northern and Southern Divisions at Berkeley and Los Angeles. IRLE's founding director was Clark Kerr, who was later Chancellor of Berkeley and President of the University. Both the Northern and Southern Divisions formed research libraries, outreach programs and curricula. Interested faculty from several academic departments and schools formed a multi-disciplinary approach for educating students about the importance of labor issues, the role of unions, and the challenges facing the rapidly growing economy of California.
Today, IRLE's research encompasses the study of organizations and labor market institutions, the high tech work force, the change role of labor unions, the "green economy" and job, wage policy, and the increasingly globalized economy. Over 80 affiliated faculty members represent more than 15 academic departments and schools.. IRLE provides the common ground where academics and community leaders can meet and study the complex world of work and workplace issues.
About this Collection
This digital collection was funded by the University of California Labor and Employment Research Fund (LERF). The Fund enabled the IRLE Library to digitize a large percentage of IRLE's publications. These documents form a record of scholarly thinking about labor and employment issues for the second half of the 20th century, as well as a record of IRLE's own goals and objectives. Three broad subsections of the collection are organized around 1) IRLE-Berkeley; IRLE-UCLA, and IRLE-Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education ("The Labor Center"). Although the collection is not complete, it is extensive, and it is anticipated that it will as more publications are discovered from various sources.
This digital collection was funded by the University of California Labor and Employment Research Fund (LERF). The Fund enabled the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library to digitize a large percentage of the Federation's publications. These include proceedings of the Federation, selected documents related to the Congress of Industrial Organizations and its merger with the Federation, and legislative voting records. The latter appear under varying titles and as sections of the proceedings. These records are of special interest, because they provide researchers with a chronological record of labor laws and issues as debated in the California legislature for nearly the entire 20th century. The collection also includes a partial run of California AFL-CIO News, the Federation's weekly newsletter. Digitization of the News is ongoing, and it is anticipated that a full run will
Terence K. Huwe
Director of Library and Information Resources