Message from the Director

July 2018


Families are the very fabric of our support systems and community and the reason why many of us wake up every morning to go to work. Policies that strengthen families and their ability to care for themselves and their children through work is a key research priority for us at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. When the dark and unconscionable policy of separating children from families at the border captured national attention, we were starkly reminded why we need to continue empirically based and policy driven research on families and work.

Our recently released study about the Los Angeles ride-share (Lyft, Uber) economy is a great example of the impact and timeliness of our research. Students in our undergraduate program collected data and undertook original research in support of the project. Their research on the gig economy found that these jobs require significant worker investment of resources, time, and labor to barely scrape by, much less support a family. This summer, we are launching a new data collection research project on “earners and learners,” to explore the experiences and challenges of those who work while attending college.

In June, we also graduated a new cohort of Labor Studies minors, UCLA graduates poised to continue their academic careers or take on leadership roles in labor and community organizations fighting for economic and social justice.

As you can see, our students and research generate policies that improve and impact workers’ lives and their families. I invite you to learn more about our recent work and our students!

Thank you,

Abel Valenzuela