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UC Berkeley Labor Programs Link to Noted Labor Leader Miguel Contreras as Governor Wants to Halt their State Funding

Labor Center in the News


Governor Schwarzenegger has once again – for the fourth year in a row – proposed to eliminate labor and employment research programs in his 2007-2008 budget (released on January 10, 2007). Labor Studies is the only research program of hundreds within the University of California that the Governor has specifically targeted for elimination, while the overall budget of the university has increased. This action was taken without any review, explanation, or justification.

Last year faculty, student, labor and community leaders waged a successful campaign to save labor research and education at the University of California after the governor proposed to completely eliminate funding in the 2006-2007 budget. As part of the budget negotiations, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez finalized an agreement, approved by both the governor and the UC, to restore $6 million in funding for research and education on labor and employment as part of the University's permanent budget. In addition, the Speaker and the President of the University have agreed to rename the statewide program in honor of the late Miguel Contreras, former leader of the Los Angeles labor movement.

UC labor research programs produce high quality research on critical issues facing workers today, including the growth of low wage employment, the sharp decline in employer-provided health care, the growing erosion of labor standards, and high road economic development alternatives. This budget proposal threatens to deny working people access to research and educational resources within California’s premier public university. It is also an affront to working people of California, who pay the majority of taxes that support our public education system.

Fabian Nuñez told the L.A. Times, "It's safe to say this will be one of the first cuts that will be restored.” The University of California has also issued a statement that, “We will certainly pursue continuation of state funds for our academic preparation and labor research programs.”

The continual attacks on UC Labor Studies are not only unjustified, but they have been disruptive and burdensome to the faculty, staff, and students who have worked so hard to maintain one of the premier labor studies programs in the country. In the coming weeks, we will keep you informed on future developments affecting our funding. We are very grateful for your past support, and only regret that we will be calling on you to affirm that support once again.

Ken Jacobs, Chair
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

Michael Reich, Director
UC Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations

Kent Wong, Director
UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education

Ruth Milkman, Director
UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations

Center for Labor Research and Education
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Berkeley, CA 94720-5555
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A public service and outreach program of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment