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Wisconsin Statute 12.07(3), (with a penalty of jail time), clearly states that employers can't distribute printed materials to employees threatening their employment:

No employer or agent of an employer may distribute to any employee printed matter containing any threat, notice or information that if a particular ticket of a political party or organization or candidate is elected or any referendum question is adopted or rejected, work in the employer's place or establishment will cease, in whole or in part, or the place or establishment will be closed, or the salaries or wages of the employees will be reduced, or other threats intended to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees.
Yet, that is just what the Koch brothers did when they sent a letter to their 2,800 Georgia Pacific employees working in Wisconsin saying they would "suffer the consequences" if they voted for Obama.

Ironically, the Koch brothers have seen their net worth nearly double under Obama.  According to Forbes, when Obama was elected in 2008, each brother was worth a skimpy 19 billion... but now they are each worth 31 billion and are tied for fourth richest person in America.

Consequences, indeed.

Originally posted to Jud Lounsbury on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well to be fair, I think there net worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has declined a bit this election cycle with their outrageous donations.

  •  Jail their asses! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nothing would please me more than to see a perp walk by these two assholes.

    But it won't happen as long as Walker's Governor.

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:55:41 AM PDT

  •  Not to be too pessimistic (0+ / 0-)

    but especially since the Koch's did it too, I doubt very much that our illustrious AG will do a damn thing about it.  Van Hollen should change his name to Van Beholden, as this asshole is just as beholden to the Koch's as Walker and the rest of his putrid ilk.

    Can we get the national media to shed a spotlight on this at all?  I know we can pretty much forget about any state media doing anything about it.

  •  Frankly, I question the constitutionality of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, ColoTim, VClib

    the law -- it may be overly broad.  Certainly, an employer can't make a direct threat -- "If you vote for Obama, I will fire you." The part of the law prohibiting that is pretty clearly constitutional.  But an employer has a constitutional right to say something like, "if taxes on the business go up, the business will cut back." So, while the part about over threats may be constitutional, the part where the law says an employer can't communicate about what will happen to the business if an election turns out a certain way may be unconstitutional.  

    This was addressed by the SCOTUS in conjunction with union elections in NLRB v. Gissel Packing:  

    Where an employer's anti-union efforts consist of speech alone, however, the difficulties raised are not so easily resolved. The Board has eliminated some of the problem areas by no longer requiring an employer to show affirmative reasons for insisting on an election, and by permitting him to make reasonable inquiries. We do not decide, of course, whether these allowances are mandatory. But we do note that an employer's free speech right to communicate his views to his employees is firmly established, and cannot be infringed by a union or the Board. Thus, § 8(c) (29 U.S.C. § 158(c)) merely implements the First Amendment by requiring that the expression of "any views, argument, or opinion" shall not be "evidence of an unfair labor practice," so long as such expression contains "no threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit" in violation of § 8(a)(1). Section 8(a)(1), in turn, prohibits interference, restraint or coercion of employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization.

    Any assessment of the precise scope of employer expression, of course, must be made in the context of its labor relations setting. Thus, an employer's rights cannot outweigh the equal rights of the employees to associate freely, as those rights are embodied in § 7 and protected by § 8(a)(1) and the proviso to § 8(c). And any balancing of those rights must take into account the economic dependence of the employees on their employers, and the necessary tendency of the former, because of that relationship, to pick up intended implications of the latter that might be more readily dismissed by a more disinterested ear. Stating these obvious principles is but another way of recognizing that what is basically at stake is the establishment of a nonpermanent, limited relationship between the employer, his economically dependent employee, and his union agent, not the election of legislators or the enactment of legislation whereby that relationship is ultimately defined and where the independent voter may be freer to listen more objectively and employers as a class freer to talk. Cf. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254 (1964). Within this framework, we must reject the Company's challenge to the decision below and the findings of the Board on which it was based. The standards used below for evaluating the impact of an employer's statements are not seriously questioned by petitioner, and we see no need to tamper with them here. Thus, an employer is free to communicate to his employees any of his general views about unionism or any of his specific views about a particular union, so long as the communications do not contain a "threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit." He may even make a prediction as to the precise effects he believes unionization will have on his company. In such a case, however, the prediction must be carefully phrased on the basis of objective fact to convey an employer's belief as to demonstrably probable consequences beyond his control or to convey a management decision already arrived at to close the plant in case of unionization. See Textile Workers v. Darlington Mfg. Co., 380 U. S. 263, 380 U. S. 274, n. 20 (1965). If there is any implication that an employer may or may not take action solely on his own initiative for reasons unrelated to economic necessities and known only to him, the statement is no longer a reasonable prediction based on available facts, but a threat of retaliation based on misrepresentation and coercion, and, as such, without the protection of the First Amendment.

    I read that as saying that the law can prevent an employer from saying, "If the Obama is elected, I'll fire you" -- because that is a threat to do something, and it's for reasons unrelated to economic necessities AND known only to the employer.  On the other hand, "If Obama is re-elected and he raises taxes on the business, the business will cut back and that will affect our employees" is probably protected by the First Amendment, because he's stating an economic reason AND the cut back would not be for some reason known only to him.  

    The Koch communication, as I understand it, was to the effect of "If the President is re-elected and raises taxes, our businesses will cut back and that will affect all our employees."  I think there's an argument that it would be protected by the First Amendment.  

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:17:41 PM PDT

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