School of Labor and Employment Relations unveils new LERA virtual chapter

December 19, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On Dec. 5, Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) hosted their first virtual chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA). Founded in 1947, LERA provides a unique forum for professionals interested in labor and employment relations to obtain insights on recent developments, issues, and practices within the field.

The first guest speaker of the Virtual Labor and Employment Relations Association (VLERA) chapter was Thomas Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who presented on,  “Working Together to Build a New Social Contract.”

“The only groups that have really seen significant increases in compensation since the 1980s are those with very advanced degrees: MBAs, doctors, lawyers and professionals with advanced degrees beyond a bachelor’s degree,” Kochan stated. “Everyone else’s wages have either stagnated or, in fact, gone down. We’ve got to change this because if we don’t address these issues, the tensions we’re feeling in society are going to get worse.” 

During his presentation, Kochan also covered workplace topics including the emerging role of technology, the voice of workers, generational differences, pay transparency, and what to expect in the future workforce. 

Paul Clark, director of Penn State’s School of LER, proposed the virtual initiative to the LERA Board at their national meeting in June 2018. The LERA Board approved Clark’s request, and by October, VLERA’s organizing committee created their chapter by-laws and elected initial officers.

  • President, LuAnn Glaser, an alumna and manager of labor relations, Mid-Atlantic Division of American Water
  • Vice-president, Michael Wasser, LER alumnus, LER online instructor, assistant to the president and legislative director at Department of Professional Employees (AFL-CIO)
  • Treasurer, Antone Aboud, director of Online Programs and professor of practice for LER
  • Secretary, Brandie Laughner, LER undergraduate student 

The mission of VLERA is to build an online presence that will allow labor and employment relations professionals the opportunity to engage in activities that support their work, create friendships, and expand their personal and professional networks outside of the existing brick-and-mortar environment of local chapters. 

Currently, there are approximately 75 registered persons of VLERA. For more information about VLERA, please contact Brandie Laughner at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 10, 2019