The mission of Rutgers LEARN (Labor Education Action Research Network) is to provide convenient and affordable public access to the most innovative thinking about how to organize our enterprises on a more inclusive, fair and democratic basis, both at work and in our communities.

Based in the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations (LSER) at the Rutgers University School for Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), LEARN offers workshops, conferences and short courses about the ways in which our modern collectivities, both corporate and cooperative, can be mobilized to provide the economic and personal security necessary to ensure that we all can lead a creative, healthy and fulfilling lives. 

LEARN also develops customized training programs for interested individuals, enterprises and organizations; and publishes research reports and digests about important trends and new ideas affecting the way New Jerseyans work and live together.

To receive regular updates about LEARN and its programs, click here.

A Statement from the LEARN Director

To Members of the Interested Public and Friends of LEARN:

How should we organize our lives together?

Does it have to be like a game of musical chairs, where failure is built into the system and the winners are encouraged to laugh at the losers?

Or is it possible to organize our lives on a more cooperative basis, where caring is as important as getting, and help is available to everyone who needs it?\

I believe another world is possible. We have the technical and institutional knowledge required for a society in which:

  • Everyone who wants to work is guaranteed a job
  • Everyone who works is paid a living wage.
  • Everyone who wants to learn can go to school.
  • Everyone who needs care can get it.
  • Everyone wants to retire can do so with dignity

The best society of which we are capable is one which exemplifies these principles, or others very much like them.

At LEARN, I am committed to organizing programs and activities that can help us understand how to achieve such things in theory and realize them in practice.

I do so on the basis of a firm conviction that everyone deserves both a meaningful voice in the decisions that affect their lives, and the opportunity to live as they wish to live, consistent with the ability of others to do so, too.

Unfortunately, some of the accepted wisdom our day considers such ambitions unreasonable.

For example, there is a widespread assumption that good jobs are scarce and that there will always be more people looking for work than there is work for them to do.

This assumption is wrong, as is the associated notion that there is not enough ready money to do what we need to do and that providing a good life for everyone is therefore simply too expensive.

These supposedly "realistic" assumptions set very strict limits on what is supposedly possible. Both are, however, false. In modern commercial societies there is more work to do than there are workers to do it and more than enough money to do what needs to be done.

(By the way, the supposedly massive "national debt" with which the deficit hawks are continually scare the public is not even a debt and nothing to be scared of. If anything, the public sector is massively under- rather than under-funded compared to the private sector.)

In the coming months, I will be inviting the various members of the Rutgers department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, as well as other members of the LEARN community, to contribute their thoughts and reactions to an on-going dialogue about "Our Best New Jersey," which is intended to help us think about such matters.

How are we working and living together to make our lives better?

And how might we work and live together to make them the best that they can be?

I invite you to listen in and even, if you are so inclined, to join in. The best New Jersey is the New Jersey that is best for everyone.


Michael Merrill
Professor of Professional Practice and LEARN Director
Rutgers Labor Education Center
50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ 08903

O: (848) 932-1890
A: (848) 932-9504
C: (609) 658-9901