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  • LEP Faculty Receive Outstanding Achievement in Labor Education Award

    LEP faculty members Stephanie Fortado and Emily Labarbera-Twarog received the United Association of Labor Education’s Outstanding Achievement in Labor Education award for their program, “Women and Power: Building a Toolbox for Leadership” at the United Association of Labor Education 2019 Conference in Philadelphia. You can learn more about the association and conference at Way to go Stephanie and Emily.

  • 2018 Derber Lecture: NFL PA's DeMaurice Smith

    DeMaurice Smith visited the School of Labor and Employment Relations for the 2018 Derber Lecture on April 11, 2018.  His day was filled visiting masters students in the classroom and collaborating with faculty, culminating in the lecture at 7 pm.  It was a great conversation about the importance of unions for working people and the power it gives to individuals who are union members bargaining at the table.

  • LEP Director Bob Bruno featured in PBS Weekend Newshour program

  • The 71st annual United Steelworkers Summer conference has begun


    Amidst the excitement of the first week of our 71st annual summer United Steelworkers conference, the Project for Middle Class Renewal has released an engaging new report!  The report, "A Happiness and Objective Well-being Index (HOW-IS-IL) for Living and Working in the State of Illinois, 2016-17" by Lonnie Golden, takes a deep look at how well people are doing in Illinois and how happy they are.  See the introduction below as well as a link to the full report.

  • PRESS RELEASE: Paper: State of Illinois’ middle class shrinking

  • LEP's Prof. Emily E. LB. Twarog invited to Turkey for International Women's Day

    Prof. Emily E. LB. Twarog gave a speech on women's leadership at the HAK-IS Confederation (Turkey) International Women's Day conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Over 7000 union women attended from around Turkey. Prof. Twarog is visiting Turkey for the week conducting research on women's leadership program in different unionized sectors.

  • New PMCR report: Union Decline and Economic Redistribution: A Report on Twelve Midwest States

    Inequality has risen to historically high levels in the United States. While there are many causes, this PMCR report finds that the most important labor market change has been the long-term decline in labor union membership. Unions raise wages, particularly for lower-income and middle-class workers. Union decline explains between one-fifth and one-third of the overall increase in inequality in the United States.

  • Chicago businesses prepare for 'A Day Without a Woman'

    Labor Education Program's Director Bob Bruno quoted in Chicago Tribune for "A Day Without a Woman."

  • PMCR Report: Alternative State and Local Options to Fund Public K-12 Education in Illinois

    A new study is now available from the Project for Middle Class Renewal

  • Illinois Issues: Left Behind

    Labor Education Program's Director, Robert Bruno's report referenced in NPR's article on the state of the Illinois economy.

  • Illinois Teachers Are Not Overpaid, Policies to Reduce African-American Unemployment

    A Highly Educated Classroom: Illinois Teachers Are Not Overpaid


    This report finds that public school teachers in Illinois are highly skilled and are compensated accordingly through competitive salaries. Properly understanding teacher pay is critical to developing an efficient teacher compensation structure. Teachers in Illinois are among the best-educated in the nation and earn appropriate incomes that reward their skill. Illinois’ teachers are highly educated, with over 62 percent of full-time public elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state having earned a master’s degree. An additional 36 percent of full-time public school teachers have a bachelor’s degree. These highly skilled educators help foster the next generation of workers and innovators who will grow Illinois’ economy.



    The City of Chicago is experiencing extremely high rates of African-American unemployment compared to the rest of the nation. This report, conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, seeks to understand the causes of high African-American unemployment in Chicago and other urban areas across the United States. It offers seven public policies and economic phenomena that make a difference in lowering the African-American unemployment rate.

  • What are the causes of high African-American unemployment, particularly in Illinois?

    Episode 8 of the For A Living Podcast is now available on SoundCloud and on iTunes.

    What are the causes of high African-American unemployment, particularly in Illinois? What policies and economic phenomena make a statistical impact on reducing unemployment among African Americans?  Professor Robert BrunoProfessor Emily E. LB Twarog, and Frank Manzo IV discuss these questions and offer solutions to address African-American joblessness.

    Policies to Reduce African-American Unemployment: Investments in Education, Infrastructure, Public Employment, and Housing by Bruno, Manzo, and Manzo can be found at this link.

  • LEP January Update

    LEP January Update, includes new classes in Champaign and Springfield as well as news about the Project for Middle Class Renewal

  • PMCR's Lonnie Golden quoted in NY Times

  • Sun Times Op-Ed refers to PMCR research "The Impact of Prevailing Wage Laws on Military Veterans: an economic and labor market analysis"

  • Poverty and Involuntary Part-Time Work National Audio Conference with PMCR's Lonnie Golden

    Millions of workers in the U.S. are ready and willing to work full time, but find themselves stuck in jobs that offer only part-time hours. These workers often struggle to earn enough income to make ends meet. When combined with the erratic schedules low-wage workers often face, holding a second job is often not an option. As a result, “involuntary part-time workers” (those who are working part time despite preferring full-time hours) are significantly more likely to be low-income than other workers. Many employers have adopted business models that perpetuate this situation. Retail workers report that their employers hire additional part-time workers despite the fact that their current part-time employees are desperately in need of more hours. Fortunately, a promising set of policy solutions has emerged to try to curb this problematic practice. Thanks to worker organizing, policies to increase access to full-time work are advancing around the country.

    On this audio conference sponsored by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, you will get a snapshot of the data on poverty and involuntary part-time work. As well, you’ll hear from advocates in Seattle, WA; San Jose, CA; and Washington, D.C. – three jurisdictions where laws intended to address involuntary part-time work have passed in the last year. These exciting victories are major steps towards ensuring that workers can get the full-time hours they need to support themselves and their families – and contribute to a healthy economy. 

    Click here to listen to the audio file of the conversation.

    Click here for full report by Lonnie Golden: Still falling short on hours and pay: Part-time work becoming new normal



    Lonnie Golden, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, and University of Illinois, Project of Middle Class Renewal;

    Amy Sugimori, director of policy and legislation for 32BJ SEIU;

    Sejal Parikh, executive director of Working Washington;

    Derecka Mehrens, executive director of Working Partnerships USA.


  • LEP and Polk School Offer Women Workers Course on "Fighting Sexual Violence at Work"

    This course will be held in Chicago at the Chicago Teachers Union located at 1901 W. Carroll Ave.  With instructors from Healing to Action, this 3-hour interactive class will begin to address questions like: What is Gender Inequality? How does it relate to Gender Violence? The course is also designed to help women workers learn to raise issues of gender inequality at work and develop strategies to challenge inequality & violence. If you are interested in registering for the course be sure to visit our online registration, or click here for a printable flyer and registration form.

  • PMCR analyst Lonnie Golden, studies 6.4 million Americans involuntarily working part-time

    A new paper by Penn State economics professor and University of Illinois’ Project for Middle Class Renewal analyst’s Lonnie Golden explains that, since the end of the Great Recession, there has been a structural shift, concentrated in a few key industries, that has led to millions more workers to be involuntarily working part-time hours when they would like to work full-time jobs.

  • Listen to the latest episode of For a Living "Right-to-Work Regulations and Unions"

    The third podcast of For a Living is now available.  Listen to Frank Manzo, Emily LaBarbera-Twarog, Bob Bruno, and guest Dale Pierson discuss so-called "right-to-work" laws.  Historical context and policy implications for the working class will be addressed as well as the current political and legal battles the labor movement is faced with.  Dale Pierson is a Chicago-area labor lawyer who has served as General Counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, since 2002.

  • Professors Ashby and Bruno publish "A Fight for the Soul of Public Education: The Story of the Chicago Teachers Strike"

    In reaction to the changes imposed on public schools across the country in the name of "education reform," the Chicago Teachers Union redefined its traditional role and waged a multidimensional fight that produced a community-wide school strike and transformed the scope of collective bargaining into arenas that few labor relations experts thought possible. Using interviews, first-person accounts, participant observation, union documents, and media reports, Steven K. Ashby and Robert Bruno tell the story of the 2012 strike that shut down the Chicago school system for seven days.

    A Fight for the Soul of Public Education takes into account two overlapping, parallel, and equally important stories. One is a grassroots story of worker activism told from the perspective of rank-and-file union members and their community supporters. Ashby and Bruno provide a detailed account of how the strike became an international cause when other teachers unions had largely surrendered to corporate-driven education reform. The second story describes the role of state and national politics in imposing educational governance changes on public schools and draconian limitations on union bargaining rights. It includes a detailed account of the actual bargaining process revealing the mundane and the transcendental strategies of both school board and union representatives

  • The PMCR Releases a New Podcast!

    We are pleased to announce the launch of For A Living, an educational podcast jointly provided by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Each episode, For A Living will explore a topic around work, workers, and the labor market. What is work? What is the future of employment in America? What policies can help the working class? What research is emerging to understand trends in the economy?

    Please join Frank Manzo, Professor Robert BrunoProfessor Emily E. LB Twarog, and our guests in these engaging conversations.

  • LEP Releases Four New PMCR Reports

    The Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) continues to release well-timed reports related to labor and current events.  The latest reports include a study of job satisfaction within the Chicago Teachers Union; diversity in apprentice-type trades; the importance of "meaningful work" for public sector workers; and The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Housing Affordability in Illinois.

    Read more for a brief introduction of each report and links to the full reports, now available.