Labor and Employment attorney Michael Sullivan is quoted in "Unions Push to Represent More Workers, But Organized Labor’s Share of Jobs Is Declining," published in the October 20, 2023, issue of the Chicago Sun Times.
The article concerns the collision of competing interests within the American workplace in Chicago and across the country. It is happening in traditional labor strongholds like manufacturing and in service-sector jobs not known for rebellious workers — mostly with the involvement of a union. It’s most apparent in high-profile disputes such as the ongoing United Auto Workers’ strike, the nearly five-month Hollywood writers’ strike, and the Teamsters’ tense stare-down with United Parcel Service that produced a deal before its Aug. 1 strike deadline.
Workers sense that trends are at their backs, with an economy with low unemployment — 3.8% nationally and 4.1% in Illinois — and about 1.5 job openings for every available worker, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, Gallup’s annual poll of Americans’ attitudes toward organized labor show about two-thirds of respondents view unions positively, a level last seen around 1970.
Michael Sullivan is quoted as saying that he sees “some permanence” in the data pointing to more labor activism. “This will continue because young people are more focused on the terms and conditions of employment, and rightly so,” he said.
He also said that companies need to focus on workplace issues. “We counsel employers that this trend is real, it’s not a flash in the pan,” he said.
Managers, he said, “should be cognizant and self-critical without waiting until somebody comes in from the outside and tells workers they need third-party representation.”