Wednesday October 17, 2012
A flurry of emails from CEOs in the US telling workers how to vote in November has raised a troubling question: Can a company legally tell workers how to vote?
For the most part, the answer is yes.
Election regulators and corporate lawyers say no federal election law specifically prevents employers from telling workers they could lose their jobs if they vote for a certain candidate.
The issue has come into public view after Westgate CEO David Siegel sent an email to his 7000 workers saying that if President Barack Obama is elected, 'I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.'
The news was followed with a missive from the Koch brothers to their 45,000 workers at Georgia Pacific that they could 'suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills' if they voted for candidates not supported by Koch-owned companies or its political fund-raising arm.
According to In These Times, the 'approved' list of candidates started with Mitt Romney and didn't include any Democrats.
Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Sofware, also sent employees an email saying, 'If the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none. ... I don't want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.'
Siegel said he was educating, not threatening, his workers. The Koch brothers said the information sent to workers was 'purely intended to be considered among all the other information employees may be reading or receiving as an informed voter. We make it clear that any decision about which candidates to support belongs solely to our employees based on the factors that are most important to them, and this is in no way an attempt to 'intimidate' employees. Any such claim to the contrary is completely untrue.'
Legal experts say there is no law that expressly forbids company executives from giving their political views or even threatening lay-offs if a certain candidate is elected.
A spokesperson for the Federal Elections Commission also said there are laws that restrict employers from inducing employees to give money or fundraise for a certain candidate.
But there are no federal election laws relating to voting recommendations or even implied threats.
'There is no specific federal law for this kind of communication, as far as I know' said Stacey Mark, an employment lawyer who mostly represents companies.
She said that some states have laws forbidding coercion or voting pressure. Oregon, for instance, has a law preventing employers from using 'undue influence' to 'vote in a particular manner.' It's unclear whether Florida or Georgia have similar laws.
Mark said that there should be federal legislation that prevents employers from telling workers how to vote, whether for Democrat or Republican.
'I don't think employers should have that kind of power over their employees,' she said. 'People are required to do a lot of things in an appropriate work environment. Employers can restrict speech, people have biases they are restricted from bring to work, and that's not unreasonable. But voting is personal and I don't think employers should be able to affect that.'
Another CEO Threatens To Fire Employees If Obama Wins
Last week, billionaire CEO David Siegel, who runs a timeshare empire, threatened to fire employees if President Obama is reelected in November, saying in an email, “the economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration.”
And Siegel is not alone in pushing his employees to cast their vote a certain way. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reported today on another CEO — Arthur Allen of ASG Software Solutions — who said in an email to his employees that they’d only have themselves to blame if they lose their jobs if Obama wins.
The email reads, in part:
Many of you have been with ASG for over 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years. As you know, together, we have been able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues and customers. But I can tell you, if the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none. I am already heavily involved in considering options that make our independence go away, and with that all of our lives would change forever.
I believe that a new President and administration would give US citizens and the world the renewed confidence and optimism we all need to get the global economies started again, and give ASG a chance to stay independent. If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.
I am asking you to give us one more chance to stay independent by voting in a new President and administration on November 6th. Even then, we still might not be able to remain independent, but it will at least give us a chance. If we don’t, that chance goes away.
In These Times also reported today that a company owned by billionaire right-wing activists David and Charles Koch sent pro-Romney mailers to its employees. The mailer gives a veiled warning that, if Obama is reelected, “then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”
April 9, 2009
It isn't threatening anyone to be leveling with the employees. As someone who worked 3 decades in the rocket business, these CEO's know what may be in store, or not in store, depending on how elections turn out. New Presidents have a habit of cancelling programs, when they get into office. Jimmy Carter canceled the B1 bomber, and in one day 20,000 people were laid off. Ronald Reagan shut the Department of Engery down, which Jimmy Carter created. Clinton put an end to cost plus contracts. Many big industies know what will or will not happen depending upon who wins an election, so yes they recommend who they would be best to elect. Unions endorse usually Democrats as a rule, even in areospace unions. Presidents can make or break military contractors, and one new President can really affect you. The steel industy, car industry, many industies can be affected by a change in President or Governor. Just as any Teacher.
August 27, 2012
The way I read it was, that these CEO's were telling people that Obama's policies had broken the camel's back. That if he were reelected, these employees could look forward to more layoffs due to this.
The modern definition of ‘racist’ is someone who’s winning an argument with a liberal.
April 9, 2009
Obamacare is going to kill many small business owners, and what will happen is employees who are not insured, work 40 hours plus get paid overtime, and many work 60 hours a week. Forced to provide insurance, most places are going to tell these guys, they have to limit them to part time hours, and keep them under 32 hours a week. It going to kill production, and it going to hurt more than help. Careful what you wish for becasue it doesn't mean it will always be better.
Rath why don't you just stop with your vendetta to find anything negative about the USA.
"En-Lugal" wrote: The way I read it was, that these CEO's were telling people that Obama's policies had broken the camel's back. That if he were reelected, these employees could look forward to more layoffs due to this.
& you read it right.
Employers are saying .... Obama wants to give all American's a better standard of living ... better healthcare, better working conditions, & a fairer deal.
The rich & powerful have said .... if you vote for Obama & Obama make the rich pay for better healthcare for their workers, this will reduce the Profits to the rich & their fellow toffs & if that happens.
The rich will take it out on the average working American & they will FIRE YOU ALL & force you to live on the street.
So Vote for Twit Romney ........ or live on the street.
((( the communists would be proud )))
July 20, 2009
April 9, 2009
No Rath you do not post the facts, you post what your opinion of them is,and your idea of what the truth is.
No way did the CEO's sent the message as you put it, they told them the facts. This has been a daily subject in the USA since Obamacare was thought of. Small buisnesses just do not have that kind of money, to take this kind of overhead hit. Most of them struggle to keep the doors open, and keep who they have working. Thats just a fact, and the facts as you characterize them, as "the rich", it is not the case. These are not the Rockafellers or Vanderbuilts, they are millions of everyday small places and people, from machine shops to small stores, and even medical facilities. Mom and Pop buisnesses. They are forcing employers to make the choice to limit employees to part time work, or go out of business due to this new thing. Its going to break the backs of countless small business.
"capricorn" wrote: [quote="rath"]I have no vendetta against the USA ...... i just post the facts.
Ha! yeah right no vendetta. 🙄
and you don't post the facts, you distort them to your liking
"greeney2" wrote: No Rath you do not post the facts, you post what your opinion of them is,and your idea of what the truth is.
Like i said ..... I don't write the story's .... i just post them.
Not my fault if the truth cuts a little close to all the American's reading the story. Take it up with the American journalist who wrote the story.