Labor Education and Research Center

Robert Bussel, Director
541-346-2790 fax
1675 Agate St.
1289 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1289

The Labor Education and Research Center (LERC) was established at the University of Oregon in 1977 with funding provided by the Oregon legislature to serve the educational and research needs of Oregon workers and their organizations. LERC has an advisory board that includes representatives from state labor and community organizations and other related constituencies. A university-based advisory committee also works with LERC faculty members on campus educational programs.

The center serves as a liaison between members of Oregon’s labor relations community and the state university system. The center's research and educational programs provide a catalyst for interaction among labor leaders, public officials, arbitrators, labor relations specialists, community and nonprofit organizations, and members of the academic community.

The center produces educational programs including seminars, conferences, workshops, and short courses on campus and throughout the state. It offers training and education to workers and unionists in grievance handling, arbitration, collective bargaining, health and safety, and other issues of concern in today’s complex and rapidly changing economy.  Most of these programs are offered without credit.

The broader labor relations community of arbitrators, mediators, and labor relations professionals is served through LERC’s conferences and programs on public- and private-sector labor law, worker participation, and labor-management cooperation.

Faculty members conduct both applied and scholarly research on current and emerging issues in labor relations and working life. Areas of research include the changing environment and structure of collective bargaining, sustainability and green jobs, immigration and Oregon’s changing workforce, workplace health and safety, economic justice and the low-wage economy, privatization, and worker rights in organizing and dispute resolution.

For students enrolled at the University of Oregon, the LERC faculty teaches for-credit courses in academic departments on topics such as labor history, labor policy, immigration, and economic justice. In addition, LERC also provides a participatory learning experience for undergraduate students, an intensive internship with Oregon labor organizations on research and related projects—Supervised Field Study (LERC 406). Students earn 4 credits each term of the internship. To participate, students must get preapproval from the LERC faculty.

The center’s faculty members work with students to determine how a LERC course fits into their academic programs. Faculty members are available to students for consultation related to the center’s interest areas. More information is available from the center.

LERC in Portland

LERC offices in Portland offer services to the metropolitan area through general and specialized programs. The Portland office is located in the University of Oregon’s White Stag Block at 70 NW Couch Street, Suite 353; telephone 503-412-3721.

The Labor Education and Research Center is a member of the United Association for Labor Education and the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.


Robert Bussel, professor. BA, 1973, Cornell; MEd, 1983, Rutgers; PhD, 1993, Cornell. (2002)

Sherman Henry, instructor. BA, 2007, National Labor College; MS, 2011, Florida International. (2016)

Jennifer Hess, associate research professor. BS, 1983, Western Washington; MPH, 1996, Washington (Seattle); PhD, 2004, Oregon. (2002)

Gordon Lafer, professor. BA, 1983, Swarthmore; MA, 1989, MPh, 1992, PhD, 1995, Yale University. (1997)

Sarah Laslett, instructor. BA, 1991, California, Berkeley; MA, 2000, Minnesota, Twin Cities. (2015)


Barbara Byrd, senior instructor emerita. BA 1971, Rice; MS, 1978, Massachusetts, Amherst; PhD, 1988, Texas, Austin. (1994)

Steven Deutsch, professor emeritus. See Sociology.

Lynn M. Feekin, senior instructor emerita. BA, 1972, Northern Iowa. (1994)

Margaret J. Hallock, professor emerita. BA, 1969, Southern California; MA, 1971, PhD, 1974, Claremont. (1988)

Steven F. Hecker, associate professor emeritus. BA, 1972, Yale; MS, 1981, Washington (Seattle). (1998)

Helen Moss, senior instructor emerita. BA 1982, San Francisco State; MA, 2001, Portland State. (2000)

Marcus Widenor, associate professor emeritus. BA, 1974, Antioch; MA, 1976, Massachusetts at Amherst. (1983)

The date in parentheses at the end of each entry is the first year on the University of Oregon faculty.