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Faculty News for Professor Michael M. Oswalt

Michael M. OswaltMichael M. Oswalt
Assistant Professor of Law

B.A., Haverford College  
M.T.S. (Master of Theological Studies), Duke University
J.D., Duke University 
Phone: (815) 753-2066

Professor Oswalt Presents on Workplace Relationships at Council of Councils Conference

On October 20, 2017, Assistant Professor Michael Oswalt presented on “Workplace Relationships and the Age of Austerity” at the 20th anniversary conference of the Council of Councils hosted this year by Northern Illinois University.  The Council of Councils is comprised of civil service employees across the state of Illinois that meet annually for important state legislations updates, professional development and networking.

Professor Oswalt Writes New Piece on Paternity Leave for HuffPost

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt has written a piece for HuffPost, published on June 14, 2017, about legal issues surrounding paternity leave. The article reflects on Professor Oswalt's experiences caring for his new baby and the importance of improving on the protections provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Professor Oswalt Writes Opinion Piece for Rockford Register Star

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt wrote an opinion column in the January 14, 2017 edition of the Rockford Register Star. His column talks about Professor Oswalt's view on President Elect Donald Trump's nomination of Andrew Puzder for secretary of labor.

Professor Oswalt Receives Glowing Review from Jotwell

Professor Catherine Fisk wrote a highly favorable assessment of Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt's article Improvisational Unionism for the online legal scholarship review journal Jotwell on November 1, 2016. Professor Oswalt's piece deals with his continuing study of labor relations and how low-wage workers have organized to try to improve them in recent years. It appeared in the California Law Review in June 2016.

Fisk, who is a Chancellor's professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, wrote, "Improvisational Unionism is, in my judgment, the single best description of and theorization about the nature, goals, and innovative aspects of this aspect of contemporary low-wage worker mobilization."

Jotwell is a site dedicated to highlighting the best and most important legal scholarship in the country. It is sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law.

Professor Michael Oswalt Joins Alumnus Rich Lenkov ('95) on WGN's "Legal Face-Off"

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt was invited to appear with Chicago attorney Rich Lenkov ('95) as a guest on Lenkov's WGN podcast "Legal Face-Off" on Friday, September 23, 2016.

Professor Oswalt joined the show to talk about his recent Huffington Post article on the Fight for Fifteen movement’s use of improvisation in its campaign to increase minimum wages to $15 an hour around the country. The discussion centered on how a $15 minimum might impact employers, businesses, and employees, as well as whether improvisational strategies might also be seen in the emerging on-demand economy.

From left to right: Rich Lenkov, Michael Oswalt and Jason Whiteside.

WGN "Legal Face-Off" hosts NIU Law alumnus Rich Lenkov ('95, left) and Jason Whiteside (right) host NIU Law Professor Michael Oswalt (center) to discuss his views on the minimum wage.

Professor Oswalt Writes on Labor Day for Huffington Post

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt wrote a reflection on Labor Day in the September 4, 2016 edition of the Huffington Post. The article deals with the "Fight for Fifteen" movement to increase minimum wages around the country and its use of improvisation to engage workers and the public.

Professor Oswalt to Speak at Young Elected Officials Conference

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt will be speaking on a panel at the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network’s National Convening, held from May 12-15, 2016 at the W Chicago City Center in Chicago. Professor Oswalt's panel is called, "Courts Matter: What’s at Stake for Progressives in the Supreme Court Battles of 2016 and Beyond." He will be speaking about labor and employment issues in the Supreme Court’s upcoming and future terms.

Professor Oswalt Shares His Expertise on Labor Organization

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt recently participated in a debate on the changing nature of labor relations and the movement to transition from unions to "alt-labor" movements. The debate originated from an article written by Cornell University Professor Lance Compa in the CUNY School of Professional Studies Murphy Institute's publication New Labor Forum on October 15, 2015. Professor Oswalt, along with several other scholars in the field, then wrote a response to Compa's article, which was followed by a counter-response from Compa. Collectively, the discourse provides a wealth of insight on a quickly-evolving and important subject. The debate will appear soon in the print version of New Labor Forum, as well.

Professor Oswalt Cited in Washington Post Blog on Labor Law

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt was cited by reporter Lydia DePillis in a blog post for the Washington Post website on March 3, 2015. DePillis wrote on the legal difficulties facing labor unions. Her article linked to a paper written by Professor Oswalt for Volume 8, issue 2 of the University of California-Irvine Law Review that dealt with workers petitioning the government to form a union under the National Labor Relations Act.

Professor Oswalt Quoted in Online Piece on Credit Scores

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt was cited in a recent article appearing on independent website, published in March 2014.  The article is called "What is a Good Credit Score?" and Professor Oswalt offers his insights on misconceptions regarding the way companies look at credit histories.

Professor Oswalt Publishes Piece in Huffington Post

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt wrote a piece for the February 13, 2014 Politics Blog portion of the Huffington Post.  The piece details his opinion on the ramifications of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revoking the right to strike in the Aircraft Service International v. Working Washington case.

Professor Oswalt Quoted in Article on Airline Union Issues

Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt was quoted in Steve Wilhelm's December 10, 2013 article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.  The article deals with the potential for airline manufacturer Boeing to engage in legal action with its largest union over keeping construction of the Beoing 777X in the state of Washington.  Professor Oswalt has experience involving the law and labor unions stemming from his time working for the Service Employees International Union.

Professor Michael Oswalt Writes Op-Ed on Labor Law for Chicago Sun-Times

On September 10, 2013, Assistant Professor of Law Michael Oswalt wrote an op-ed piece for the Chicago Sun-Times.  The piece discussed United States labor law in the context of the recent work stoppages at fast food restaurants and retail stores through the nation.  Professor Oswalt formerly worked for the Service Employees International Union, which supports the fast food and retail strikes.  

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