Sunday, October 28, 2012

IOOKIARDI: Politics In The Workplace

Mike White, founder and board chairman of Rite Hite Holding Co., sent a threatening email to his employees:
Rite-Hite Holding Corp. of Milwaukee ignited a national conversation Thursday with the news that company founder and board chairman Mike White had sent an e-mail to employees, advising them against voting for President Barack Obama.

“Every Rite-Hite employee in America should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected, forcing taxpayers to fund President Obama’s future deficits and social programs (including Obamacare), which require bigger government,” White wrote in the e-mail.
White warned that profits that normally would be re-invested in the company instead “will be sent into the abyss that is Washington, D.C.”

White added, “The other big impact on Rite-Hite employees, if President Obama is re-elected, is the good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare…Every opportunity to make up for lost profits to taxes will have to evaluated.”

White closed with the following: “Rite-Hite nor I will ever prejudice any employee for their political views, and, totally respect your right to vote as you choose. I simply am trying to present the facts as I know them and to protect the business you have helped build! Please think very carefully about your vote on November 6th.”
As one might expect, this act of workplace harassment was met with cheers from the right wing sock puppets, like Charlie Sykes and Owen Robinson.

There are so many things that are so terribly wrong with this whole scenario that it is almost impossible to know where to begin.

As the article points out, White can't be too upset about Obama's policies, since his company reaped the benefit of more than $26,000 of stimulus funding. I bet he wasn't sniveling and mewling about the tax burden then.

Another thing that the right wing sheeples never want to discuss is the money that they'll be saving from not having to pay the usury fees they're currently paying out to the private insurance companies. Of course, they don't want the employees to know this because then they can give their workers the short shrift, falsely claiming the increase in costs is forcing them to do this, and then pocket the money they're ripping off from their employees, along with the money they will be saving because of the Affordable Healthcare Act in the first place.

And before any right wing trolls start whining about death panels and/or bureaucrats making our healthcare decisions, it should be noted that Obamacare will be administered by the same insurance companies that are making those decisions now. The only difference is that it will be based on the patient's needs instead of the insurance companies bottom line. In other words, the insurance companies will no longer be allowed to gouge their clients. Ain't that just a crying shame?

It should be also mentioned that what White did is rather illegal. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally got around to reporting, there are laws against this sort of behavior:
State law states: "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."
Not only should this be reported to the DA's Office, but the employees should file a complaint with Labor Relations Board for creating a hostile work environment and for breaking workplace rules.

As if this story needed any more irony, Zach Wisniewski points out that White is also a board member of the Bradley Foundation-sponsored and inappropriately named Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. It does make one wonder if Rick Esenberg was sleeping at the switch or if, as some have told me, he just isn't that good with the law.

I'm sure that if the Republicans can regain control of the state senate, one of the first items on their agenda will be to change that law to make it perfectly legal for an employer to put any sort of demands on their employees private lives, from how they can vote to what they can wear to what they can eat and drink. Hell, in what the right wingers would call the good old days, bosses could threaten the jobs of men if they did not get to sleep with the worker's wife.

But the thing that really ticks me off about the story is the hypocrisy of it all.

You know damn well that if a union official had posted some letter at the job site warning about voting for any given Republican would endanger their income, their job security and their rights to a decent wage or a safe work environment, the same people crowing about White's misdeed would be screaming bloody murder and demanding that people get fired.

Of course, that falls into the rights only rule: It's only OK if a Republican does it.

But if nothing else, this story should motivate the gentle reader to not only vote, but to work hard to get out the vote. If this is already going on in Fitzwalkerstan, Inc., can you possibly imagine what things will be like if they pass right to work legislation?

This election won't be just about the economy or healthcare reform.

We are fighting for our very rights and freedoms. For what we see White do and what his supporters encourage is outright fascism.


  1. Esenberg comes up incidentally in this discussion of Rite Hite. He used to brag on his blog that he'd left a partnership at Foley and Lardner to become in-house counsel to Rite-Hite Corp. I'd love to know the back-story on that move.

  2. Esenberg was a partner at Foley and Lardner? He hardly seems bright enough to have gotten a job there in the first place.

  3. I heard that Reich-Heich guy interviewed on Jeff Vagner in my two minute commute home for lunch. To call him stupid and blitheringly blind would be a disservice to stupid and blind people everywhere. He kept announcing that his intimidation was actually his Freedom of Speech, without seeing the obvious application that it has to his employees. I would say, feel free to try and 'inform' me, but then I get to 'inform' you. And if I disagree with you, you can't fire me. But these people don't think civil liberties go both ways. In fact, they are mainly meant for an underclass to be able to speak without experiencing reprisals for their speech. The 'owner' class has that built into their placement in society. Which is probably why they're always whining when people decide to boycott their products after they have practiced their freedom of speech.

  4. Whats with these Rethuglicans ?They blather on and on about freedom of choice but it ALWAYS boils down to ,yes, you have a choice,as long as it agrees with MY choice ...UGH lee...