Labor and Employment Relations Association

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Labor and Employment Relations Association
Labor relations and human resources management
Founded 1947
Headquarters Champaign, Ill., USA
Key people
Paula D. Wells, Executive Director

The Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), founded in 1947, as the Industrial Relations Research Association, is an organization for professionals in industrial relations and human resources. Headquartered at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the national organization has more than 3,000 members. LERA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that draws its members from the ranks of academia, management, labor and "neutrals" (arbitrators and mediators). The organization uses the slogan "Advancing Workplace Relations."

LERA's constituencies are professionals in the areas of academic research and education, compensation and benefits, human resources, labor and employment law, labor and management resources, labor markets and economics, public policy, training and development, and union administration and organizing. The executive director of LERA is Paula Wells. Past presidents of LERA include John T. Dunlop, George Shultz, and Ray Marshall, all of whom went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor.


Employment Policy Research Network[edit]

At the 2011 January annual meeting, LERA launched the Employment Policy Research Network Web site (EPRN). It originally consisted of about 100 researchers (economists; management, human resources, and labor relations researchers; attorneys, historians and sociologists) from 30 universities, including California-Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, Illinois, Massachusetts (several campuses), MIT, Michigan, Michigan State, Northeastern, Rutgers, Stanford and UCLA, as well as universities in Canada and the United Kingdom. In March, 2011, the first cohort of doctoral students from MIT and Cornell joined EPRN as graduate student researchers who are sponsored by EPRN researchers. As of May 1, 2011, there were 125 EPRN researchers from 50 universities.

EPRN received start-up funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and Russell Sage Foundation. The EPRN principal investigator is Thomas A. Kochan, George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management and co-director of both the MIT Workplace Center and the Institute for Work and Employment Research.

EPRN is an employment research repository and virtual collaboration space whose mission is to replace ideology and partisan rhetoric with facts and objective, evidence-based research in discussions of U.S. employment, work and labor. EPRN's goal is to provide the data, research, policy proposals and reasoning to improve national and state employment laws, policies and practices. Ultimately, EPRN realizing its mission means to contribute to healthier and more productive lives of American workers and their families, to promote general economic prosperity and to enable the nation to compete successfully in the global economy. Like LERA, its parent organization, EPRN is non-profit and non-partisan.

EPRN divides the large subject of employment and work into 15 topics and research clusters of 20-40 researchers:


LERA publishes a number of research reports and books, as well as an annual compendium of research, an annual proceedings, a newsletter and a membership director. It also publishes the biannual journal, Perspectives on Work. The LERA Labor and Employment Law Section publishes a monthly online newsletter that is posted on the LERA website and distributed through the main LERA listserve].

Administration and organization[edit]


The Labor and Employment Relations Association has more than 50 local chapters where members meet colleagues in the private, public and federal sectors, as well as faculty from local universities and third-party neutrals. Local chapter members value the opportunity to learn about matters of importance in their area and to exchange observations and ideas informally with chapter speakers and members.


LERA organizational members include unions, management schools, universities, academic schools and departments, law firms and institutes. Individual members come from the ranks of academe, labor, management and neutrals. The organization provides professional development for human resource professionals, union members, corporate and non-profit managers; national, state and local government employees; arbitrators and mediators; labor attorneys and others.

LERA holds an annual membership and professional development meeting in January each year, as part of the Allied Social Sciences Association, and its National Policy Forum in alternate years in June in Washington, D.C.

In 2011, LERA held its 63rd annual meeting in Denver, Colo. The 2011 National Policy Forum (June 6–7, 2011) is titled Competition, Jobs, and Equity in the Economic Recovery.


LERA offers a number of awards, recognitions and grants each year. Its most prestigious award is the John T. Dunlop Scholar Award. Two Dunlop Scholar Awards are given each year. One goes to an academic who makes the best contribution to international and/or comparative labor and employment research. A second award recognizes an academic for research that addresses an industrial relations/employment problem of national significance in the United States. Other awards include:

  • Thomas A. Kochan and Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Award
  • Chapter Merit Awards
  • Excellence in Education Awards
  • LERA Fellows
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • James G.Scoville Best International Paper Award
  • John T. Dunlop Scholar Awards
  • Outstanding Practitioner Awards
  • Susan C. Eaton Scholar-Practitioner Award
  • Susan C. Eaton Scholar-Practitioner Grant
  • Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award
  • Sloan Industry Fellowships
  • Woodrow Wilson Women's Studies Dissertation Grant

See also[edit]


External links[edit]