Michael Oswalt

Michael Oswalt

Professor of Law

Michael Oswalt

  • Biography

    Michael Oswalt joined Wayne State in 2022 and teaches labor law, employment law, torts, and seminars on emerging issues in employment discrimination and worker organizing. Michael’s writing focuses on the ways labor and employment laws structure workplace and community relationships, including how gaps in protections contribute to new forms of worker advocacy and activism. His most recent article will appear in the California Law Review and examines how doctrinal instability at the National Labor Relations Board affects the labor movement. He is also a co-author of two labor law casebooks.

    Prior to joining Wayne State, Michael was a faculty member at Northern Illinois University College of Law and in 2021-2022 served as the Interim Director of the Malin Institute for Law and the Workplace at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. From 2009-2013 he worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union.

    Michael graduated from Haverford College and has degrees in law and theology from Duke University. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor on the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    B.A., Haverford College
    M.T.S., Duke University
    J.D., Duke University

  • Courses Taught

    Labor Law, Labor Law and Practice, Employment Law, Torts, Advanced Topics in Work Law

  • Selected publications

    Journal Articles

    • Liminal Labor Law, 110 Cal. L. Rev. _ (2022) (reviewed in JOTWELL, Joseph Slater, the Depth of Liminal Space: Liminal Labor Law, Feb. 16, 2022).
    • Short Strikes, 95 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 67 (2020).
    • Alt-Bargaining, 82 L. & Contemp. Probs. 89 (2019).
    • The Content of Coercion, 52 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1585 (2019) (reviewed in JOTWELL, Martin H. Malin, Coercion in Labor Law: A Fresh Perspective, Jul. 22, 2019).
    • Organizing the State: The ‘New Labor Law’ Seen From the Bottom-Up, 39 Berkeley J. of Emp. & Lab. L. 415 (2018) (with César Rosado Marzán).
    • The Right to Improvise in Low Wage Work, 38 Cardozo L. Rev. 959 (2017) (reviewed in JOTWELL, Anne Marie Lofaso, Union Improvisation: The Parent of Social Justice, Jul. 5, 2018).
    • Improvisational Unionism, 104 Cal. L. Rev. 597 (2016) (reviewed in JOTWELL, Catherine Fisk, Improvising the Future of Worker Mobilization, Nov. 1, 2016).
    • Automatic Elections, 4 U.C. Irvine L. Rev. 801 (2014).
    • Preemption and Civic Democracy in the Battle Over Wal-Mart, 92 Minn. L. Rev. 1502 (2008) (with Catherine L. Fisk).

    Other Writings

    • Status as Sword, Law and Political Economy Blog (Jul. 20, 2022).
    • The Doomed Constitutional Case Against Exclusive Representation, ACS Issue Brief (June 14, 2021).
    • Does Scabby the Rat Cause Fear—Or is the NLRB Inflating the Balloon’s Power?, Chicago Tribune (Aug. 16, 2019)
    • My Paternity Leave Was Not Gratuitous, HuffPost (June 14, 2017).
    • Bust Out without Breaking Up, 25 New Labor Forum 21 (Winter 2016).
    • Labor’s New Strike-First Strategy, Chicago Sun Times (Sept. 10, 2013).

    SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1097864

  • Courses taught by Michael Oswalt