Policies to Strengthen Workplace Civic Engagement and Worker Political Voice
January 1, 2021
By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
The Great Democracy Initiative (GDI) was a project of the Roosevelt Institute from 2018–2020 that produced actionable policy blueprints for addressing the structural problems facing our nation.
In Policies to Strengthen Workplace Civic Engagement and Worker Political Voice, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez proposes suggestions to transform the relationship between workers and their workplace in order to expand civic and political engagement.
Worker power and organization play a key role in shaping civic participation and political engagement outside of the workplace. The weakening of worker organizations in the U.S. has not only decreased workers’ power in the workplace but also in politics. In Policies to Strengthen Workplace Civic Engagement and Worker Political Voice, author Alexander Hertel-Fernandez explains how new labor laws can help create a more inclusive and representative democracy. Hertel-Fernandez’s suggestions include: paid time off not only for voting but for other forms of civic participation, new protections against political coercion and retaliation, and measures to facilitate civic organizing in the workplace.
These measures can help increase participation by all workers in our democracy, diminishing racial inequity and creating a government that is more responsive and accountable to working people. Without policies that actively support all workers’ ability to participate in the political system, the most privileged will continue to dominate our political and civic life, fueling economic inequality.
This report is a joint project of the Great Democracy Initiative and Clean Slate for Worker Power—a project of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. It is led by Professor Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry, Harvard Law School and Sharon Block, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program.