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Politics At Work: How Companies Turn Their Workers into Lobbyists

April 12, 20184:00 pm6:00 pm


In 2010, the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court decision upheld corporations’ right to participate in politics, declaring that limits to their political spending would infringe on freedom of speech. But money is not the only political resource that corporations can use. Private companies have access to – and control over – powerful human capital in the form of their employees. Professor Hertel-Fernandez will discuss his new book, Politics at Work, and the huge impacts corporations are having on elections and public policy by mobilizing their workers.

The discussion will be moderated by Kim Voss of the UC Berkeley Sociology Department and Ann Ravel of Berkeley Law. A limited number of books will be available for sale.

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Thursday, April 12, 4:00 pm
IRLE Director’s Room
Lecture will be followed by a reception.

This event is co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Political Science department and the UC Berkeley Labor Center.


Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is an assistant professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University. He studies the political economy of the US, with an emphasis on the politics of organized interests and public policy.

Alex spoke about political coercion of workers on MSNBC in 2015. His work has been covered by the New York Times, Salon, and the Washington Post, and he has written policy briefs on who really pays America’s taxes and on why conservatives are so effective at shaping legislationPolitics at Work comes out on March 1.


Kim Voss is a professor of sociology and Associate Dean of the Graduate Division at UC Berkeley. She studies social movements, labor, inequality, higher education, and comparative-historical sociology.




Ann Ravel served on the Federal Election Commission under President Barack Obama, between 2013 and 2017. Previously, she chaired the California Fair Political Practices Commission, where she oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. She is a lecturer at Berkeley Law.