IRLE Experts

IRLE’s staff are nationally-recognized experts in low-wage labor, the future of work, the gig economy, immigrant workers, domestic employers, Black workers, workers and learners, labor history, labor unions, workplace occupational safety and health, human resources, among other areas of work. The IRLE also houses the Labor Studies academic program, the first major of its kind at the University of California.

For press and media interviews please contact, IRLE’s Director of Communications, Citlalli Chávez-Nava,, (310)562-0943.

Abel Valenzuela Jr.

Director at the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)

Immigration and labor markets, day laborers, undocumented youth and higher education administration, poverty and inequality, immigration settlement patterns, demography and population studies, immigrant rights, mobility and opportunity, urban studies.

Tobias Higbie

Associate Director at UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Labor Studies Chair, Professor of History and Labor Studies

Labor, working class, and social movement history; migration history; history of popular education, print culture, and representations of work and workers.

Corinne Bendersky

Faculty Chair at the UCLA Human Resources Round Table (HARRT)

Conflict management, leadership development, organizational behavior, and team effectiveness.

Victor Narro

Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center

Immigration policy, low-wage immigrant workers, wage theft and worker centers. Spirituality and sustainability among labor and community activists, spirituality in social justice movements.

Gaspar Rivera-Salgado

Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center and Director of the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies

Immigration, Latinos in the United States, U.S.-Mexico relations, race relations, farmworkers, Indigenous Mexican migrant in the U.S., Mexico’s politics, economy and workers.

Janna Shadduck-Hernández

Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center

Labor and workplace education, community-based education/ popular education, community service-learning, gender issues, immigration and undocumented migration, undocumented students, low-wage working families and K-12 education in Los Angeles, qualitative research methods and field research, arts activism: labor, immigration, sexuality and LGBTQ issues, latino community issues: education, higher education, community development.

Lola Smallwood Cuevas- On Leave

Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center

African American workers in Los Angeles and strategic labor and community alliances.

Kent Wong

Director at the UCLA Labor Center

Immigrant workers, Asian American workers, undocumented students, contemporary union issues.

Magaly N. Lopez

Senior Research Analyst

Workforce development, high road training partnerships (HRTP), worker centers, future of work, equity, job quality, worker equity, immigration, qualitative research, culturally responsive evaluation.

Kevin Riley

Director at LOSH

Occupational safety and health, informal employment, work as a social determinant of health, workers and climate change.

Saba Waheed

Research Director

Gig economy, workers and learners, young workers, future of work, domestic workers and employers, nail salon workers, LGBTQ+ workers, grocery/retail workers, fast food workers, cannabis workers, general service sector/low wage work, working conditions, community based research/participatory research