It’s been a tough year for us here at the Labor Education and Research Center. In April, without warning, we were notified that the University of Oregon intended to slash support for our program by almost 70 percent. Despite the thousands of emails, phone calls, and statements of support, the University stuck to their guns, announcing a $70,000 cut this year, an additional $280,000 cut next year, with additional cuts totaling $488,000 in FY2022.
But we didn’t just roll over, we fought back! And thanks to a concerted effort in the legislature, spearheaded by the Oregon AFL-CIO’s Political Director Jess Giannettino Villatoro, we had the University’s cuts restored for this biennium.
This means LERC is fully-funded for the next two years.
We couldn’t have done it without you, and we want to extend our heartfelt thanks. Through all the stress and uncertainty, it’s been inspiring to hear from people all over the country who value the work we do, and see LERC a critical part of the Oregon labor movement. But our campaign to save LERC is far from over, and we need your support now more than ever.
As part of our three-pronged strategy, we’re expanding our work with University of Oregon students. Several departments on campus have offered to partner with LERC and we look forward to having a much bigger footprint on campus. In addition to teaching more for-credit classes, we’re also exploring an internship program, an undergraduate minor in labor studies, as well as certification programs, online offerings and much, much more.
We’re also pushing to increase external funding for LERC through grants and individual-donor fundraising, as well as contract research, training, and consulting. Please let us know how we can help. We’ve got expanded capacity for strategic research—whether it’s understanding your employer’s finances, pursuing pay equity, or enforcing prevailing wages. And LERC faculty are also available for hands-on projects from designing and running comprehensive contract campaigns to building training programs for stewards and staff.
Finally, we’ll be pushing for expanded funding from the state legislature in the next biennium, and we’re building an ambitious research and education program to justify this expanded investment in LERC and the Oregon labor movement. We need your help to shape this vision, and flesh out LERC’s agenda—whether it’s researching the future of work in Oregon or helping unions enforce labor standards on publicly funded projects.
And we’ll need your voice, to make sure the legislature gets the message. Oregon needs to be expanding, not cutting, labor education and research if we want to grow together instead of pulling apart.
Please let us know what you think we need to move labor forward in this state, or how we can help you and your union. You can find us on the web at lerc.uoregon.edu, connect via email at email@example.com, or by phone at (541) 346-5054.