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, citlallichavez@ucla.edu, (310)562-0943.


Abel Valenzuela Jr.

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

Immigration and labor markets, day laborers, 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 and Labor Studies Chair

Future of work, labor history, low-wage worker organizing in Los Angeles

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

Wage theft and wage policy, low-wage immigrant workers, immigration policy, and worker centers.

Gaspar Rivera-Salgado

Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center

Immigration, Latinos in the United States, U.S.-Mexico relations, race relations.

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

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.