CES: Demobilizing Democrats and the Working Class: The Enduring Political Consequences of Right-to-Work Laws Across the U.S. States


Friday, February 23, 2018, 2:15pm to 4:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, 27 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA

Seminar on the State and Capitalism since 1800


Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University



Theda Skocpol

Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology and CES Faculty Associate, Harvard University


A number of newly-GOP controlled states have begun enacting so-called “right-to-work” laws, which permit workers at unionized employers to opt-out of paying fees to their union. Critics of these laws contend that they weaken unions, while their supporters argue that the provisions are needed to preserve worker freedom. Given the centrality of the labor movement for the Democratic party, what have these laws meant for American politics?


** Please note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**