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The recent rash of ultra-wealthy corporate executives and business owners trying to intimidate their employees into voting for Mitt Romney is something that simply can't be tolerated.  In the words of The Dude, "This aggression will not stand, man."  Some of those arrogant parasites may have broken state or federal laws by doing this (ask a lawyer, I have no idea), and all available legal options should be pursued against them, in both civil and criminal court.  But some may actually be acting legally, since a disgracefully large number of states basically give businessmen dictatorial power over the lives of employees who basically have no rights.  In those cases, the only acceptable response is an assertive one that lets these assholes know they're playing with fire.  

Below is what I've come up with, and anyone who has experienced voter intimidation from their employers is welcome to use it or any derivations thereof you find more useful or appropriate to your particular experiences.  Sign it or send it anonymously, whichever you prefer.  Or, even if you don't work for any these people, you can still send it to them anonymously pretending to be an employee and have the same impact.  In fact, go ahead and send it to all the employees of these companies as well - you know, to give 'em idears:

Dear Mr./Ms./Sirs,

I am an employee of (company).  In response to your memo/speech/notice/letter to the employees of (company) urging us to vote for Mitt Romney and warning of "dire consequences" if we do not, I must inform you that given the level of power you wield over our financial livelihoods, your behavior is wildly inappropriate, unacceptable, and does not meet the basic standards of civilized behavior in this country.  If you wish to discuss your political opinions with any of us, a social occasion where a mutual exchange can take place would be appropriate - not a one-sided directive issued from a superior to subordinates whose livelihoods you have the power to harm with impunity.  That is not an appropriate format for political discourse in the United States of America.

The intent of your actions appears plain: To use your position as a weapon to undermine the political freedom of the employees of this company.  If this was not in fact your intent, an apology and explanation to all those who received your memo/speech/notice/letter would also be appropriate.  Failure to provide an apology and explanation would likely be interpreted as acknowledgement that intimidating voters who work under your supervision was your intention, whether or not that is indeed the case.  

So I must inform you that your actions inappropriately tread into a sphere well beyond business - one where people have given life and limb to secure the dignity, respect, and freedom that your thinly-veiled threats cheaply deny.  Sailing into those waters under a banner of arrogance and disrespect is neither wise nor responsible, either for employee morale or the future prospects of this company.  Hopefully you understand that it is in the best interests of the company that you restore confidence by apologizing and reaffirming your respect for the liberty of employees.

That said, since you have opened up the subject for debate on company time, I would like to explain how reelecting President Obama is crucial to the ongoing success of this business.  First of all, reducing healthcare costs greatly enhances the profit margins of businesses that would otherwise have to pay higher premiums for employee healthcare or else suffer the reduced productivity of denying health benefits to their workers.  Unhealthy, overworked employees are also more prone to costly mistakes, expensive accidents, and poor impulse control that can compromise safety, teamwork, and the public reputation of the business.  The savings realized by this company under a continued and expanded Obamacare regimen will go a long way toward preventing that.

Additionally, the Obama administration has been very supportive of the infrastructure this company depends on to conduct business.  Traffic jams from crumbling transportation infrastructure and poor civic management cost this company quite a lot in productivity, causing employees to arrive late or else have to lose sleep to leave early enough in the morning to get here, which also has consequences on their quality of work.  Based on what little clear information Mitt Romney has provided about his economic plans, a Romney administration would only accelerate those problems, causing not only difficulty for employees to keep to a schedule, but also cause supply deliveries to be delayed or lost entirely from various supply-chain issues.  An administration that supports infrastructure maintenance and development would help keep this company's supply deliveries on schedule.

In addition to traffic, another key service the administration supports is police and firefighters, which are needed to protect company property from natural disasters, accidents, criminal property destruction, and theft.  In the absence of such support, while this company might save a little in the short-run by being less regulated, adequately providing for all of our own security and fire suppression needs would be beyond this company's resources and even at low levels represent a large chunk taken out of the profit margin.  

Without a diligent and well-trained police force on the local, state, and federal levels, it would be difficult to detect and punish employees who defraud the company, competitors who illegally obtain trade secrets, and other costly crimes.  Likewise, without diligent and effective regulators monitoring the fire safety and structural integrity of our facilities, costly damage to company property would be much more likely - damage that wouldn't necessarily be covered by insurance, especially if the exhausted, health-impaired employees mentioned earlier have failed to properly implement the terms of the company's policies.  

So, as you can see, the benefits of another term for the Obama administration feed back into each other and create a whole network of support for this company that improves its long-term prospects, while a Romney administration would have dire consequences for the ability of this company to do business.

Yours truly,

(Name) or Anonymous Employee

See what I did there?  I created a seamless blend of legitimate statements that could be interpreted by a jaundiced mind as threatening without providing them even the slightest basis to claim so - basically throwing their own tactics back at them.

6:31 PM PT: Now that I think about it, if you wanted to send it anonymously, it would probably be even more effective to pretend the letter is from several people - replace "I" with "we" and "me" with "us."  That kind of thing makes authoritarian leaders reckless and paranoid - you could touch off a real Caine Mutiny meltdown if the person is already suitably borderline.  :D

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let us know how it works out. n/t (14+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:14:45 PM PDT

  •  Here's my version (6+ / 0-)

    I've got news for you boss.

    If you terminate me for exercising my right to vote I sware I will sue you for all you are worth so help me God.  You will have so many wrongful termination lawsuits to pay out we will put you out of business, bankrupt you and have you on food stamps.  You'll be paying us for the rest of your life while we vacation in the Cayman islands with high priced hookers.  Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go add another Obama bumper sticker to my car.  Good day

    •  Could deter a small or mid-sized business owner. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoogleBonhoeffer, codairem, Mayfly

      But the CEO of a rich corporation?  They have full-time legal staff, and they would just laugh at you for threatening litigation.  Ultimately the working man (or woman) has to be more thuggish than their employers to protect their rights - but smart about it so that corporations' natural advantages in legal representation don't come into play.

      Voter suppression is treason.

      by Troubadour on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:53:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd still call his bluff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Mass firings are:

        1) Bad PR and could really damage a brand, especially a big company with high visibility that would attract news coverage.

        2) Wasteful - the cost of rehiring and finding productive workers is high and takes time and lowers production.  The cost in HR and lost productivity makes mass firings a really inefficient proposition for a CEO.  

        •  He could just fire you alone (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the mom in the middle, Mayfly

          and count on it being an "example."  Direct confrontation can only work if it's purely assertive and constructive - and if you have a recording device on you at the time to make sure you catch any critical blunders on their part, such as going berserk and making blatant threats.  

          But to really control people who wield real power, you have to basically gaslight them - convince them the world is out to get them, make them act paranoid of their own employees, and they'll become so preoccupied with a completely imaginary struggle for power that they start making all sorts of mistakes you can exploit.

          Voter suppression is treason.

          by Troubadour on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:05:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Since it's still (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          a secret ballot, just ignore the stupid bastards!

            They're just spouting smoke and know they would be cutting their own Preciousssss bottom line if they actually indulged this fetid Randian fantasy.

          If they dare ask how you voted, tell them whatever the H E double hockey sticks you want.

          They deserve no angst on our part. Cowardly bullies, that's all!

    •  don't wait (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      contact a large plaintiff's (class action) law firm immediately and run it by them and ask them if you will have a case if you are terminated and what to do NOW;

      Not this again, what happened to 'The Voice' ~ President Obama

      by anyname on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:31:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  get going - good luck (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
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        Results 1 - 25 of 63 – Personal Injury Plaintiff: General, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, Personal Injury Plaintiff: Products. The Dolan Law Firm, San Francisco ...
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        Not this again, what happened to 'The Voice' ~ President Obama

        by anyname on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:35:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dear sir, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, Lovo, Calamity Jean

    How are you going to find out how I voted?

    Here's a bucket of sand. Feel free to pound on it.

    Anon E. Mouse

    •  The threat is that they would fire (0+ / 0-)

      employees they know or suspect of being Obama voters in the event of an Obama victory.

      Voter suppression is treason.

      by Troubadour on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:46:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly! (0+ / 0-)

      Why is it automatically assumed that liberal voters are dumb as rocks?  If conservatives want to believe that, that's one thing; but why do so many liberals seem to think it's true and get all riled up by stupid stuff like this?  Geez!

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:10:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dangerous to send this, but may have legal options (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You're right that in a lot of ways, employers have a vast power advantage over employees--maybe not dictatorial, but close.  As a result, as an employment lawyer, I recommend being very careful about sending your employer a letter such as this. It would feel good, but to the extent that it might in any way give rise to a claim that you were being "disrespectful" or "insubordinate," it could get you fired.  Never mind that your employer is being disrespectful to you; legally, again, it's not an equal playing field. Unless you are in a union, you generally are employed "at will" and do not have the right to express yourself to your employer without consequence. The First Amendment only protects against government action.  Unbelievable as it may sound, unless it can be tied to race, gender, religion, or some other protected classification, nothing prohibits an employer from discriplining or firing an employee based on the employee's expressions of political views, especially during work time.

    That said, many states do have laws that protect employees from being intimidated or pressured to vote the way the employer wants.  Other states prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend meetings on work time regarding political matters.  And there are also federal law issues, as corporate activities directed at low-level employees can be illegal.  So you may have options for opposing this sort of employer coercion, short of putting your job at more risk.  Talk to an elections or employment lawyer in your state, especially if your employer forces you to do anything political or retaliates against you for your refusal to do so.


    •  This is part of why such letters are necessary. (0+ / 0-)

      As far as I'm concerned, they don't have a right to do that regardless of whether the political system recognizes that fact, and employees are justified in making it clear that there will be consequences if they attack the basic freedom of their employees as Americans.

      Voter suppression is treason.

      by Troubadour on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:46:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree in spirit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Morally, you are absolutely correct.  And I should have added above that if an employer tries to prevent you from voting, you can sue them for that--many additional states specifically grant time off on election day for people to vote. But in speaking out against the employer's political activities with a letter, you are relying on the employer to respond to the moral argument, or at best, to respond to the implied or explicit economic threat that it will lose valuable employees or that the publicity will lead the employer's customers to take their business elsewhere. It is generally not, however, legally "protected" conduct.  

  •  I am I, Don Quixhote (0+ / 0-)

    Knight of the Woeful Countenance

    They will quail at the sight
    Of the Knight of the Woeful Countenance!
    Oh valorous Knight,
    Go and fight for the right,
    And battle all villains that be,
    But oh, when you do,
    What will happen to you
    Thank God I won't be there to see!
  •  The one thing you left out (0+ / 0-)

    is that their threat is hollow because you have complete privacy within the voting booth.  It might even be worth it to lie and say "I was voting for Romney but refuse to be dictated to.  Your message changed my vote out of spite."

    "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

    by artmartin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 08:51:48 PM PDT

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