Now what the hell kind of memo is this to get from the boss?
In a low-blow attempt to exploit people’s fears about being able to hang onto their jobs in this struggling economy, it seems a few corporate moguls have taken it upon themselves to not only tell their employees what time to come to work, or when to take a lunch break, but who to vote for.
And it’s not President Obama.
David A. Siegel, the 77-year-old chief executive of Westgate Resorts and a backer of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, wrote a letter to his 7,000 employees telling them that if Obama is re-elected, a lot of them could find themselves out of work.
“If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current president plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company,” he wrote.
Then, in an especially condescending touch, he told Bloomberg News that his note wasn’t intended to be threatening as much as it was intended to be motherly.
“…I’ve always looked out for their best interests,” Siegel said. “We’re like a family. They’re like my children, and I’m the Jewish mother telling them to eat their spinach and vote for Romney.”
Seriously, Dave? Your children?
Forget, for a minute, that Siegel views a bunch of full-grown people as kids who don’t know any better, and have to be told when to go beddy-bye.
What’s worse is that here’s a wealthy guy, a guy who’s building the biggest house in the U.S., and who is in no danger of being homeless or hungry if he has to pay more taxes, yet he insinuates that he’s going to fire vulnerable workers if the election doesn’t go his way.
There’s something quite immoral about that. Yet Siegel isn’t alone.
Because of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, corporate bosses can now legally behave as corporate parents by, at least figuratively, threatening employees with punishment if they don’t vote as they’re told.
Georgia-Pacific, a paper and pulp company owned by the Obama-hating Koch Brothers, sent information packets to employees telling them how to vote.
According to the New York Times, Dave Robertson, the president of Koch Industries, sent the packets and letters this month to more than 30,000 workers at the company, attacking government regulations and featuring a flier listing – beginning with Romney – all the candidates it recommends.
Travis McKinney, a forklift operator at Georgia-Pacific in Portland, Ore., says he now won’t wear his Obama pin to work because of the mailer.
Then there’s Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions in Naples, Fla., who told his employees in an e-mail that if they “fail to make the right choice on November 6th…I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”
That’s not advice. That’s chastisement.
Now obviously, there’s no real way for an employer to know how their workers voted. In fact, it’s a great chance that such overbearing behavior could backfire – and cause more workers to vote for Obama.
Still, it’s disturbing.
It’s disturbing because, among other things, it reveals the depths of the hatred that white corporate masters have against this black president, as well as the layers of condescension against the working stiffs they employ.
I mean, Siegel called his employees his children, but he might as well had called them his slaves.
It’s also chilling when corporate employers gin up fear and anxiety in workers over an outcome they can’t control by telling them their jobs are on the line if Obama wins.
That can’t be good for productivity.
It’s a sad day in America – and scary to think that the ascendancy of a black president who, for all intents and purposes, hasn’t been an enemy to Wall Street – would lead to this kind of craziness. If corporate bosses believe they can get away with insinuating that workers will lose their jobs if their guy doesn’t win the presidency, then what’s next?
Will they threaten their jobs if they wear a color they don’t like? Or drive a car they don’t like?
It’s one thing for corporate bosses to control their workers' salaries and benefits. But it’s quite another for them to try to control their voice on Election Day.
I just hope the workers aren’t fearful enough to let them get away with that.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.