Alexander Hertel-FernandezApr 9, 2018
Politics at Work
How Companies Turn Their Workers into Lobbyists
Oxford University Press 2018
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is the author of Politics at Work: How Companies Turn Their Workers into Lobbyists (Oxford University Press, 2018). He is an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University. We often think of corporate political power expressed in campaign donations, political advertising, and lobbying. Darrell West, Ray LaRaja and Brian Schaffner, and Erica Fowler have all been on the podcast in the past to talk about this side of money and politics. Hertel-Fernandez is focused elsewhere to discover how companies influence politics. He sets his sights on the internal politicking that companies engage in with their own employees. Through rigorous surveys and interviews, he discovers that a quarter of American employees have experienced some type of political influence from their employer, including encouragements to register to vote and pressure to vote for favored candidates. And once contacted by an employer, many employees feels pressured to act, sometimes out of fear of retribution, docked pay, or dismissal from the job. While this is hardly a brand new corporate tactic, Hertel-Fernandez explains how it has grown since the 1990s and also why this is a worrisome trend for the democracy and employees.