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Labor Policy Research Assistant/Associate

Apply now Job no: 527957
Work type: Faculty - Career
Location: Eugene, OR, Portland, OR, Other-Site
Categories: Education, Research/Scientific/Grants, Social Science, Sociology, Political Science, Public Policy and Planning

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

Review of Applications Begins
February 1, 2022; Position open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Please include: a CV; a letter explaining your interest in the position; the names of three references; and a writing sample of between 5-10 pages in length.

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, strategic planning 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 faculty have 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. They 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 climate change and a just transition to green jobs, 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 policy research, additional applied research areas of applied research 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.

They will also engage in some instructional activities, which would include sharing research findings with different constituent groups in educational settings. The 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.

The Research position reports to the LERC Director and may be based in either the Eugene or Portland LERC office. The Labor Policy Researcher is a core faculty member and will participate in departmental and program decisions with an equal vote to other faculty members, as provided under LERC’s internal governance policy. Funding for this position is guaranteed for three years, with the anticipation that funding will continue beyond that period.

The Labor Policy Researcher position is a public employee of the state of Oregon and is covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the university and United Academics of the University of Oregon (AFT Local 3209), which can be found here: 

The successful candidate will work collaboratively with fellow faculty at LERC, University and community partners, and labor constituents. The Researcher position does not supervise other staff, but will work collaboratively with support staff on program planning and implementation. While individual faculty have significant autonomy to set priorities and directions for their work, decisions about program priorities are made collectively by the faculty.

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:
• PhD or terminal professional degree, in public policy, education, law 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.
• Presentation, teaching and facilitation experience in adult education (e.g., classroom teaching, workshop training, presentations of findings, 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, including 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. The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. To request an accommodation in connection with the application process, please contact us at or 541-346-5112.

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 Civil Rights Compliance, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.

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