Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to Speak at UMass Amherst Oct. 9

AMHERST, Mass. - Robert B. Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, will give the third annual Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture at the University of Massachusetts Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in Mahar Auditorium. The talk, titled "The American Social Contract," is sponsored by the UMass department of economics. The event is free and open to the public and will include a question and answer period. A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Reich, a Cambridge, Mass., resident, is currently University Professor and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University and its Heller Graduate School. Before joining Brandeis, Reich served as the 22nd secretary of labor during President Bill Clinton’s first term. He is the author of seven books, including "Locked in the Cabinet," an account of his service in the Clinton administration, and "The Work of Nations," which has been translated into 17 languages, plus more than 200 articles on the global economy, the changing nature of work, and the importance of human capital.

While serving as labor secretary, Reich helped win passage of the Family Medical Leave Act and was instrumental in the successful effort to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time since 1989. He also played a key role in getting the School-to-Work Opportunities Act signed into law by Clinton in 1994. The law is designed to ease the transition from secondary education to the workforce for the 75 percent of young people who do not graduate from college. Goals 2000, also enacted during the first two years of the Clinton administration with strong support from Reich, established a national system of skill standards, certifying that workers have the skills needed by employers.

Prior to serving as labor secretary, Reich was a member of the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was an assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General in the Ford administration where he represented the United States before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he headed the policy planning staff of the Federal Trade Commission in the Carter administration.