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Union Lawyer: America Needs A New Kind Of Labor Movement

book cover
The New Press

Even at this time of economic anxiety, America's system of organized labor is so convoluted, it’s no wonder unions are so unpopular.

That’s one of the arguments put forth by veteran Chicago union lawyer Thomas Geoghegan in his latest book, Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. It came out in paperback earlier this year.

Geoghegan has been practicing union-side law since 1973, but he decided to take a break from that to run for Congress in 2009, in the special election to fill the vacancy when Rahm Emanuel went to work in the Obama White House. Geoghegan finished seventh out of 14.

Thomas Geoghegan
Credit Shelley Anderson / The New Press
The New Press
Thomas Geoghegan has practiced union-side law since the 1970s. His latest book is "Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement."

“A friend of mine told me: ‘You have no chance, but you’ll never regret doing it,'" Geoghegan says. "And I think that turned out to be right: I had no chance, I’ll never regret doing it, I will never do it again."

I spoke with Geoghegan last December in his Chicago office.

Brian Mackey covers state government for NPR Illinois. You can follow his reporting on Twitter and Facebook. A version of this interview was first broadcast onIllinois Editionon May 20, 2016, and rebroadcast on September 2, 2016.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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