Politics at Work: A Discussion of Corporate Influence Over Worker Politics with Alex Hertel-Fernandez

By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, K. Sabeel Rahman, Nehemiah Rolle |

Politics at Work: A Discussion of Corporate Influence Over Worker Politics with Alex Hertel-Fernandez

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
Registration at 5:30 PM
Discussion begins promptly at 6:00 PM
Program concludes at 7:15 PM

The Roosevelt Institute
570 Lexington Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 11103

The Roosevelt Institute is a leading voice explaining how disparities of economic power negatively impact the daily lives of families and working Americans, and jeopardize our political system. We are happy to invite you to an evening discussion of groundbreaking research, conducted by a member of the Roosevelt family, which elucidates a new threat posed by runaway corporate power.

Employers are increasingly exercising influence over their workers’ politics in order to change elections and remake public policy. In Politics at Work (Oxford University Press, March 2018), Roosevelt Institute Campus Network alum and Columbia University assistant professor Alexander Hertel-Fernandez explains explains why more firms have sought to shape the politics of their workers in recent decades. Using a diverse array of original evidence, the book describes how powerful firms are able to use their workers to advance narrow, corporate-friedly political objectives.

Please join us for two discussions. The first will feature Hertel-Fernandez and Roosevelt Fellow Sabeel Rahman discussing the root causes and dangers of corporate political influence over workers. The speakers will discuss the intertwined relationship between inequality, market concentration, and corporate political clout. The second discussion will feature Roosevelt Institute Campus Network Director Nehemiah Rolle, discussing Hertel-Fernandez’s campus network background, the need for a new generation of progressive policy researchers and advocates, and the current deficit of organizational infrastructure dedicated to nurturing and amplifying these voices.


Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He studies the political economy of the United States, with an emphasis on the politics of organized interests, especially business and labor, and public policy. His first book, Politics at Work (Oxford University Press), examines how employers are increasingly recruiting their workers into politics to change elections and public policy and why Americans should care. He is currently finishing a second book manuscript, entitled State Capture: How Big Businesses, Conservative Activists, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped the American States -- and the Nation.
Other projects examine the role that legislative staffers play in Congress, the activities of elite donors in American politics, and possibilities for new forms of labor organization. Hertel-Fernandez’s academic work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, the Journal of Politics, and Perspectives on Politics, and has been featured in a range of popular outlets, including the American Prospect, Democracy Journal, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post.

Sabeel Rahman is an Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, a Fellow at the New America Foundation, and a Four Freedoms Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His interests revolve around issues of inclusive and equitable economic policy; democratic participation; law; and social and democratic theory. Since 2013, Rahman has served as the Research and Design Director and a member of the founding leadership team of the Gettysburg Project, a Ford Foundation-funded initiative to facilitate innovation among leading practitioners and scholars in the fields of community organizing, civic engagement, and economic justice movements. Rahman’s first book, Democracy Against Domination (forthcoming, Oxford University Press) offers a new account of how ideals of democracy can respond to persisting disparities of economic power. In addition to his academic work, his writings have appeared in The Atlantic, The Boston Review, The Nation, and Salon.com.