The projects of the Labor Research and Action Network are driven by the efforts of volunteers in six working groups, which are each led by two members of the Advisory Committee. Below is a description of the six groups and instructions for getting involved. Because LRAN does not have full time staff support, volunteers are critical for seeing these projects through.
Co-chairs: Steve Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center and Haeyoung Yoon, National Employment Law Project
Much of what LRAN has accomplished to date has been made possible through the generous support of institutions and the in-kind contributions of our members who volunteer their time and expertise. The fundraising team partners with the working groups to raise funds for projects like the national conference, the online infrastructure, support for new scholars, and connecting scholars with practitioners to collaborate on research. We could use creative thinkers to help us become a more self-sustaining network.
Co-chairs: Iain Gold, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
The infrastructure group is partnering with Workplace Fairness to design and maintain LRAN's listserve, website and experts database. Now that the LRAN online community has launched, this group will continue to monitor and revise the website, listserve and database to ensure they are well-utilized and support the goals of the network.
Co-chairs: Gordon Lafer, Labor Education and Research Center and Christian Sweeney, Organizing Department, AFL-CIO
A key goal of LRAN is to facilitate connections between scholars and practitioners to develop research in support of worker campaigns. However, it is often a challenge for scholars to contribute research that is timely and relevant to current campaigns, and for practitioners to identify experts with the skills required to perform the research. To that end, the LRAN initiatives group plans to organize a series of trainings that will build capacity for conducting objective analyses on a set of topics that are linked to current legislative or organizing efforts undertaken by a number of unions or worker centers. The first topic the group will tackle, in partnership with In the Public Interest (ITPI), is the privatization of public assets and services. Specifically, we will identify and train a corps of professional scholars and graduate students to be able to conduct a series of analyses on the costs and benefits of proposed privatization projects.
Co-chairs: Fred Feinstein, University of Maryland School of Public Policy and Matthew Mayers, AFSCME
The LRAN Membership Committee is conducting broad and targeted outreach efforts to expand upon the nearly 600 participants (faculty, graduate students, nonprofit scholars, union and worker center researchers and organizers) already involved in LRAN. We are focusing our outreach efforts around the LRAN regional meetings planned for this year, along with the launch of the LRAN online community.
Co-chairs: Ruth Milkman, City University of New York and Thea Michailides, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
One of the principal goals of LRAN is to encourage new scholars to join the field. Mentoring plays a significant role in bringing new scholars into the field and nurturing and sustaining them as they navigate graduate school and early career opportunities. In this spirit, the new scholars group is planning to match graduate students and other young scholars with established senior scholars who will volunteer to serve as mentors. We plan to organize this in advance of the 2013 LRAN conference where mentors and mentees will meet face-to-face, and where at least one panel will feature the research of young scholars. We are also building a clearinghouse of research and job opportunities, and are exploring other ways to support new scholars.
Co-chairs: Elvis Mendez, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative and Beth Gutelius, University of Illinois at Chicago
This group plans the LRAN national conference, which occurs annually in the Spring. The committee recruits stimulating speakers, reviews and approves panel proposals, raises funds to ensure the participation of students and low income activists, and ensures the conference advances the mission of LRAN in creating a space for the exchange of lessons learned and big ideas.
*** In addition to the above working groups, people can also volunteer to help plan regional LRAN meetings. To date, LRAN participants have expressed interest in meeting in the DC area, New York City/New Jersey, Upstate New York & Central Pennsylvania, Eastern Massachusetts, California and the Midwest. If you would like to help plan a regional meeting, please contact Erin Johansson.