For 30 years, Colorado State University Professor Ray Hogler has carefully monitored what he sees as the deteriorating state of American labor relations, culminating most recently with announcements by major corporations to scrap their pension plans.
Now, he has been invited by the Fulbright Award program to share his expertise at the University of Tuscia in Italy – a country that Hogler said is a model for major labor reform. Hogler will be a Fulbright Distinguished Professor, which the Council of International Exchange of Visitors in the United States said is "among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program." Only 38 Distinguished Chairs are selected each year. The University of Tuscia is located in Viterbo, in central Italy, and the city is the site of the 13th-century papal palace.
Hogler will teach in that university’s Department of Economics in the spring of 2007.
"Ray is a great instructor and will be a wonderful representative of the university in Italy," said Jim Cooney, associate provost for international programs at Colorado State. "He is helping us fulfill our mission to create international partnerships and use our knowledge and innovation to reach out to other communities, whether that’s in Colorado or elsewhere in the world."
Hogler teaches undergraduate courses in Colorado State’s College of Business on collective bargaining and labor law. He is the author of a textbook titled "Employment Relations in the United States."
"This is a fantastic opportunity for Colorado State University and for me," Hogler said. "The University of Tuscia wants to learn what’s happening in the United States in terms of labor relations. I believe our system is falling apart after 50 years of success, a situation that can offer some useful instruction."
Italians reformed their pension system by combining private and public pension plans – a painful, but successful overhaul that put people on an equal playing field, Hogler said. That’s tougher to do in the United States where the same degree of social cohesion is lacking.
"In Italy, those costs are born by society, not by employers," he said, noting that some 45 million Americans are without health care. "The fact is, at some point, if those Americans have heart attacks or some debilitating illness, they would be destitute."
Hogler, a Durango native, obtained his bachelor’s degree from Fort Lewis College and his law and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado. He has taught management courses at Colorado State since 1988. Prior to joining Colorado State, he was associate professor in the Labor Studies and Industrial Relations Department at Pennsylvania State University.