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Labor Policy Research Assistant/Associate

Apply now Job no: 521228
Work type: Faculty - Career
Location: Eugene, OR, Portland, OR
Categories: Instruction, Research/Scientific/Grants

Department: Labor Education and Research Center
Rank: Research Assistant
Annual Basis: 12 Month

Advertised Salary Range: $65,000 - $75,000 per year

Review of Applications Begins
January 29, 2018; position open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
LERC will be hiring for one position at the research assistant or research associate level, depending on education and experience. This non-tenure track position will be located in LERC’s Eugene or Portland office.

Please submit resume, cover letter, and answers to the supplemental questions provided below.

Supplemental Questions (Total of 4 pages, maximum, for responses):

1. Briefly describe your experiences with policy or other kinds of applied research. Ideally, describe a project that your worked on from conception to execution, your methodology, any challenges you encountered, relationships with stakeholders for that project (where applicable), and impact.

2. Provide specific examples of your work or experience with labor unions, workers, or community-based organizations, accompanied by a discussion of the impact of your work and what you gained from the experience. Please include examples of any work you have done with racially or ethnically diverse groups.

3. Briefly describe your experience presenting research findings to policy makers, union members, or the public at large in an accessible manner. This may include using popular education approaches and/or paying particular attention to adult learning theory. You can also include descriptions of curriculum development experience and teaching philosophy.

4. Given the current political climate and public attitudes towards workers’ rights and unions, what do you see as the most serious challenges or priorities facing organized labor and working families? What do you see as the most promising areas of labor policy? What role do you see university-based labor centers playing in creating policy initiatives that can benefit workers and their organizations?

Department Summary
The Labor Education and Research Center is a state-wide program that combines teaching, research, and public service to improve the lives of Oregon’s workers, their families, and their communities. Since its creation in 1977, LERC has provided teaching, research, and technical assistance services to unions, other worker’s organizations, and working adults in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Throughout its history LERC has served as a catalyst for critical analysis, strategic thinking, and concerted action aimed at strengthening labor organizations and improving the lives of working Oregonians.

With offices on the Eugene Campus and at UO Portland, LERC has a six-member faculty with strong roots in the union movement and expertise in a variety of academic disciplines. In addition to teaching working adults, LERC faculty members conduct research on relevant work, employment, and public policy issues. They also work extensively with policy makers, university faculty, labor relations professionals, and community leaders on issues of concern to Oregon workers. LERC is committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusive workplaces. We practice this internally and also incorporate these concepts in our teaching and public presentations.

A thirty-member advisory board provides LERC with support, guidance, and strategic advice. The program enjoys an excellent reputation at both the state and national levels as a valued resource that works diligently to meet the multiple needs of its constituents. For more information about LERC, please visit our website:

Position Summary
The Labor Policy Researcher engages in research and produces papers, reports, and informational pieces that further the understanding of work and employment issues and identifies best practices to support workers and unions in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Work produced by the Labor Policy Researcher should be written and presented in such a way as to be accessible to the general public, labor leaders, and policy makers.

The Labor Policy Researcher provides leadership in organizing collaborations among colleagues at the UO and other institutions of higher education, unions and other workers’ advocacy organizations, policy and governmental organizations, community partners and other stakeholders interested in work, the economy, and the employment relationship. The successful applicant must be able to forge effective working relationships with individuals and organizations that represent a broad range of constituents and strategic approaches. S/he must be able to work independently and collaboratively with multiple stakeholders around labor policy topics.

Examples of policy issues that the person in this position might consider include job creation, assessment of economic subsidies, minimum wage laws, economic equity for low wage and under-represented workers, employment practices relevant to working families, the care economy, health care and immigration policy, and the shift toward part-time, temporary, and informal types of employment. In addition to the primary focus on policy research, additional applied research areas of interest may include employment and industry research relevant to organizing or collective bargaining processes, as well as assessments of unions’ organizational strengths and weaknesses.

The Labor Policy Researcher is primarily responsible for:
• Identifying appropriate and innovative topics and methodologies for labor policy research;
• Conducting significant new policy or other labor-relevant research;
• Seeking external funding for research where available. Over time, generate consistent funding at a level to be determined in consultation with the Director;
• Developing and overseeing research and collaboration processes with multiple stakeholders;
• Assuring the accuracy of research produced by LERC;
• Coordinating and participating in dissemination and public presentation of research findings; and
• Developing and implementing research standards and processes that pay particular attention to race and gender equity & inclusion.

S/he will also engage in some instructional activities, which would include sharing research findings with different constituent groups in educational settings. This Labor Policy Researcher may also be responsible for coordinating occasional full-day and multi-day open enrollment conferences or institutes. These duties are typically conducted in collaboration with other LERC faculty and staff.

This position will be located in either LERC’s Portland, Oregon or Eugene, OR office and provides support for projects throughout the State. S/he reports to LERC’s Director, who is based at the Eugene campus. The Labor Policy Researcher is a core faculty member with authority to participate in most departmental and program decisions, as provided under LERC’s internal governance policy. This position is funded for two years with the anticipation that funding will continue beyond that period.

The successful candidate would work collaboratively with fellow faculty at LERC, LERC’s Department Manager, University and community partners and labor constituents. S/he does not officially supervise support staff, but does work with support staff on program planning and implementation.

Minimum Requirements
Research Assistant:
• Master’s degree in public policy, social sciences, education, or other relevant fields.
• Two years research or policy analysis experience on labor and employment policy issues.
• Two years of experience working with labor unions or other workers’ organizations.

Research Associate:
• Terminal degree, in public policy, social sciences, education, or other relevant fields.
• Four years research or policy analysis experience on labor and/or employment issues.
• Demonstrated ability to obtain and/or manage funded research projects.
• Two years of experience working with labor unions or other workers; organizations.

Professional Competencies
• Demonstrated ability to write effectively on policy research topics.
• Demonstrated project management skills and ability to work effectively with stakeholder groups.
• Strong oral, written, and interpersonal communications skills.
• Ability to work independently and creatively.
• Teaching and facilitation experience in adult education (e.g., classroom teaching, workshop training, popular education, strategic planning and facilitation).
• Demonstrated cultural competency, ability to work effectively with a diverse range of constituents on work and employment issues, and a commitment to supporting and enhancing an inclusive learning and working environment.

Preferred Qualifications
• Strong quantitative and qualitative skills and experience using common research methods (e.g. analyzing complex government datasets such as the Current Population Survey; focus groups; ethnographic interviews, and surveys) to translate data into public reports, presentations, and policy recommendations.
• In addition to the primary focus on labor policy research, analysis and writing, additional areas of expertise related to labor are of interest. Examples include analysis of industry sectors, employment trends, and fiscal structures; union structures and collective bargaining; and applied research relevant to working families and underrepresented workers.
• History of substantive involvement with labor/community initiatives and coalitions.
• Experience leading or working as part of a research team on grant or contract-funded projects.

The University of Oregon is proud to offer a robust benefits package to eligible employees, including health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off. For more information about benefits, visit

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA.  The University encourages all qualified individuals to apply, and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status, including veteran and disability status.

UO prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by UO policy. Questions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.

In compliance with federal law, the University of Oregon prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and services. The Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at

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