The Conservative Upsurge and Labor Policy in the States | J DiGrazia, M Dixon | Work and Occupations

During the early- to mid-2010s, there was a dramatic upsurge in conservative legislation restricting labor unions in U.S. states. The sweeping Republican victories at the state level in the 2010 midterm elections certainly enabled this legislative surge, though not all states controlled by conservative governments passed such legislation and there was considerable variation in the number of laws passed among states that did. Understanding the conditions under which restrictive labor laws are passed is important for labor scholarship as well as broader academic debates on corporate power and political influence. Using a longitudinal negative binomial regression analysis, this article evaluates the role of organized business and conservative mobilization on state labor policies between 2011 and 2016. Our findings are consistent with and extend literature emphasizing the growing influence of corporate interests on politics today. At the same time, the authors find little support for explanations emphasizing the economic aftershocks of the Great Recession and public opinion and find no evidence that grassroots pressure impacted state laws.

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