Professors Saucedo, Rodriguez to Lead Labor and Community Center

King Hall will house one of five new labor centers opening this month across the University of California system.

Directed by UC Davis Law Professor Leticia Saucedo and Asian American Studies Professor Emerita Robyn Rodriguez, the Labor and Community Center of the Greater Capital Region at UC Davis Law will study the economic and social impact of a variety of labor and employment issues, provide timely, policy-relevant research, and educate the next generation of labor and community leaders.

The new Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Cruz labor centers are modeled after existing centers at UCLA, Berkeley and Merced. Davis is the only UC labor center based at a law school. It furthers the ongoing collaboration between Saucedo and Rodriguez, co-editors of the UC Press book series Race, Labor Migration, and the Law.

The new center “is a natural extension of the work we already do” as scholars interested in the intersection of employment, labor and immigration, Saucedo said. The center will focus its research on “areas related to working people and working families,” she said.  It also will create a pipeline to labor-related jobs and fields for King Hall and other interested Davis students.

Saucedo and Rodriguez will develop an advisory committee of union representatives and labor allies who will “help the center work on issues that are important to the state,” Saucedo said. She expects the center “will do a lot of policy-related work,” given its base at the law school and proximity to the state Capitol.

The center fills a gap on the Davis campus, Saucedo said.

“There have been all kinds of labor studies courses and people interested in labor, but there was not really a center that brings it all together – and brings it together in conversation with national experts on labor, and the labor community,” Saucedo said.

Davis will participate in Labor Summer 2023, the UC labor center expansion’s kickoff event. An engaged-learning summer program that partners with labor and community organizations, Labor Summer 2023 will immerse students in the labor movement and address social and economic justice at the intersection of race, class, gender and immigration.

The Legislature allocated $13 million in ongoing funding to expand UC labor centers as part of the 2022-23 state budget. This allocation represents the single largest budget increase to UC labor centers since the creation of the flagship centers at Berkeley and UCLA in 1964. 

Read a full press release on the UC labor center expansion.

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