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Opening Plenary: Cultural & Political Polarization

2022 Illinois Public Sector Conference
Labor Law |  Labor Relations
Robert E. Bloch |  Jill Leka |  Dr. Ryan Martin
52 Minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Dec 02, 2022
Product Type:
On Demand - Also available: On Demand  16
Never expires.


Anger and hostility have undoubtedly been on the rise in recent years. This session will explore why people get angry, how it interferes in having meaningful and substantive interactions, and how to effectively deal with angry people in our lives.

MCLE credit for this session is not available in Ohio.


Robert E. Bloch's Profile

Robert E. Bloch Related seminars and products

Dowd, Bloch, Bennett Cervone, Auerbach & Yokich LLP

Robert E. Bloch is a partner at Dowd, Bloch, Bennett, Cervone, Auerbach & Yokich. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Law, he served as a Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board before entering private practice. Robert represents a broad array of private and public sector labor unions and has extensive experience in traditional labor law practice. Robert serves as General Counsel to several local unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union. Robert advises labor organizations on internal matters, has implemented and monitored union trusteeships, and supervises local and international union elections. He also advocates for unions on regulatory and legislative matters.

Jill Leka's Profile

Jill Leka Related seminars and products


Clark Baird Smith LLP

JILL LEKA is a strategic business partner helping employers solve their thorniest labor and employment law issues. Jill focuses on traditional labor matters as well as those involving employment litigation and the public (including educational) sector.  In that role, she also proactively counsels public, not for profit and private sector clients to position them for success. She represents employers in grievance and interest arbitrations, unfair labor practices and Union representation proceedings, disciplinary, pension/PEDA/PSEBA, constitutional and discrimination litigation, as well as conducts complex investigations. Jill has successfully negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements.  Jill also advises not for profits and educational institutions, including institutions of higher learning in all legal matters, including serving as General Counsel and all issues associated therewith.  Prior to starting CBS LLP with her colleagues, she practiced at Seyfarth Shaw LLP from 1993 until 2010, where her legal focus closely resembled that at CBS LLP. 

From 1988 to 1993, Jill served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Springfield, Illinois.  As Assistant Corporation Counsel, Jill represented and advised City of Springfield officials on all aspects of municipal, labor, employment, law enforcement, discipline, discrimination and benefit issues.  She also represented the City in grievance arbitration, interest arbitration, labor board and disciplinary proceedings and state and federal court litigation.  In addition, Jill negotiated all the City’s collective bargaining agreements (29) covering over a thousand employees, including agreements for police, fire, clerical, professional, and maintenance and craft employees.

In 1987 and 1988, Jill was Labor Relations Counsel for the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services.  In that capacity, she participated in collective bargaining negotiations for contracts covering 40,000 employees on behalf of the State of Illinois, represented state agencies in arbitration and labor board proceedings and advised state agencies on disciplinary matters, contract administration and other employment-related issues.

Jill currently serves as General Counsel for the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association and as a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Human and Civil Rights and ADR Committees. She is a past chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), and previously served on the ISBA Employee Benefits Council, the Professional Women’s Council, and as President of the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association.  Jill also served as the Chairperson of the City of Springfield Liquor Commission. In addition, Jill is an author of “Much Smarter Bargaining” (NPELRA 2017), “Freedom of Speech in the Public Workplace” (CABA 1998), “Illinois Statutes Affecting Public Employee Relations” (IPELRA 1995), and “Survey of Employment Law” (1993 Southern Illinois University Law Journal).  She has conducted numerous training programs on a variety of subjects and is a frequent speaker on various labor and employment topics.

Dr. Ryan Martin's Profile

Dr. Ryan Martin Related seminars and products

Professor of Psychology

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Dr. Ryan Martin researches and writes on healthy and unhealthy expressions of anger. His book, Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change, explores why people become angry, some of the common consequences of anger, and how people can use their anger in productive ways.  Ryan also hosts the popular psychology podcast, Psychology and Stuff.  He was trained as a counseling psychologist at the University of Southern Mississippi where he first started studying anger after earning his undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of St. Thomas.  He has worked with clients- angry and otherwise- in a variety of settings including community mental health centers, college counseling centers, and a VA Hospital.

He is a Professor of Psychology and an Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.  His work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR’s Invisibilia podcast, BBC Radio’s Digital Human,, and elsewhere.  When he’s not thinking about feelings, he runs and spends time with his family.

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