Longtime Professor Jack Chernick's Legacy At IMLR

Professor Jack Chernick, a former SMLR (IMLR at the time) faculty member and university professor emeritus, passed away on March 27 at the age of 97. 

Professor Chernick played an integral role in the history of the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), formerly known as the Institute of Management and Labor Relations (IMLR), of Rutgers University. Most likely born in Manitoba, Canada, around 1908-1915, he went on to earn a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1939. Shortly thereafter, he received an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Labor Economics, Economic Theory, and Statistics in 1942 and 1949, respectively. (1)

Professor Chernick's roots in the research field began early on. Immediately following his B.A., he worked as a research assistant on an economic survey of Manitoba. This survey became the first in a long list of publications that Professor Chernick would author. He later went on to conduct other studies and publish reports while lecturing at the Universities of Kansas and Minnesota. He was an instructor at the University of Minnesota from 1942-1943 and 1945-1947, a lecturer at the University of Manitoba from 1943-1945, and an assistant professor at the University of Kansas from 1947-1951. (2)

Before coming to Rutgers, Professor Chernick worked as an associate director in the Case Analysis Division of the Wage Stabilization Board of Region 8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (3) He joined Rutgers in 1953 as a professor of industrial relations, helping to organize and teach courses on collective bargaining and research techniques as part of the University's Extension Department which preceded both IMLR and SMLR. During the economic recession of the late 1960s-1970s, and especially after the passage of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in 1973, Professor Chernick served as a field researcher for the Committee on Evaluation of Employment Training Program (CETP) and the Manpower Planning Board in both Middlesex and Union Counties.

While at Rutgers he served on various committees, including the IMLR Executive Committee and Curriculum Committee as well as chairing the graduate program and Research Department at IMLR. As a Fulbright Scholar in France, 1961-1962, he studied the French economy, labor movement, and social programs. (4) While there he also spent time in the Ministry of Labor and the Institut des Etudes Sociales du Travail. (5) During the 1973-1974 school year, he returned to France on a sabbatical leave to conduct more research. In 1977, he initiated a manpower training certificate program proposal aimed to educate employers and enforce CETA compliance in the work force. After retiring from teaching at Rutgers he remained a professor emeritus at the university.

During his tenure at Rutgers, Professor Chernick published over 20 articles and several books, including Economic Effects of Steady Employment and Earnings (1942), The Guaranteed Annual Wage (1945, 1955), and Newark, New Jersey: Population and Labor Force (1967). He also belonged to and served as a field researcher in many professional associations. These include the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), Industrial Relations Research Association (IRAA), American Economic Association, and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). During 1959-1960 he served as the president of the IRRA, New York Chapter. Later, he was the chairman of the Minimum Wage Board for Beauty Culture Operators in 1963, and for Hotel and Restaurant Workers in 1967. He also served on labor arbitration panels for the American Arbitration Association, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and New Jersey State Board of Mediation. (6)

Not much about Professor Chernick's personal life is known except that he was married and had three children, who in 1970, were aged 17, 23, and 25 years. Additionally, Mrs. Chernick had taught French since 1963 at the local high school. While in France in 1961-1962 the Chernick children attended French primary and secondary schools thus acquainting Professor Jack Chernick with the French education system and adding on to his already thorough knowledge of the American education system. (7)

Throughout his professional career, not limited to the time he was at Rutgers, Chernick was a pivotal force in collective bargaining, wages, and employer/employee education and research. As a result, the struggle between workers and employers from the 1950s-1980s is well documented and can be used as a framework for research to decrease the schism between labor and management.

Learn more about Professor Jack Chernick by visiting: http://www2.scc.rutgers.edu/ead/uarchives/chernickf.html

This information is courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.