New faculty at LERC

University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center (LERC) is hiring two new full-time faculty in its Portland office, beginning September: Economist and veteran Labor Notes trainer Mark Brenner, and researcher Lina Stepick from the UCLA Labor Center. LERC is a university extension service that provides training and research support to Oregon labor unions.

Mark Brenner

Brenner and Stepick are filling positions that became vacant last year after longtime instructor Barbara Byrd retired and researcher Raahi Reddy left to become director of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program at the Metro regional government.

LERC Director Bob Bussel says Brenner and Stepick bring distinctive skills to LERC, with Brenner focused on teaching and leadership development, and Stepick on research.

Brenner is best known for his 12-year tenure directing Labor Notes, a Detroit-based non-profit dedicated to “putting the movement back in the labor movement.” Labor Notes publishes books and a monthly magazine and provides training and networking events for union activists. At Labor Notes, Brenner co-authored Secrets of a Successful Organizer and two other books. Prior to that he spent six years as a researcher at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, supporting living wage and minimum wage campaigns around the country. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California Riverside.

Lina Stepick

Stepick researched scheduling practices of retail workers in Los Angeles while at UCLA. Before that, she surveyed formerly incarcerated workers for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, conducted research about public transit and affordable housing for a Los Angeles labor-community coalition, and interviewed immigrant detainees, among many research projects since 2006. Bussel met her in 2009 when as an undergraduate at Dartmouth she interviewed him as part of a research project for the Portland-based Voz Workers Rights Education Project. She’s now completing a PhD in sociology at UCLA.

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