Very likely, yes. When it comes to employees’ political views, the free market, not free speech, is the power that rules America
So many stories of employers pressuring their workers to vote for Romney have come out that you might think workplace intimidation was invented just for this election.
Romney certainly hasn’t done much to dispel this perception. In a conference call to the National Federation of Independent Business, the GOP candidate was recorded encouraging business owners to:
“[M]ake it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.”
A number of Romney backers took it upon themselves to spell out more clearly to their workers what “the best interest for their job” really means. David Siegel, CEO of Florida‘s Westgate Resorts, emailed his employees that a second term for Obama would likely give him “no choice but to reduce the size of this company”. Republican donor-activists Charles and David Koch were no less subtle when they sent 45,000 employees of their Georgia Pacific paper company a list of whom to vote for, warning that workers “may suffer the consequences” if Obama is re-elected.
Florida-based ASG Software CEO Arthur Allen informed his employees that he was contemplating a merger that would eliminate “60% of the salaries” of the company – should Romney lose. In Ohio, coal mine owner Robert Murray left employees in no doubt that they were expected to attend a Romney rally – off the clock and without pay. In Cuba, at least they pay workers for show demonstrations.
Democrats are apoplectic. But as Romney assured those who have the power to hire and fire thousands of people, there is “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business”. He’s right. Heavy-handed? Yes. An abuse of authority? Probably. Against the law? Not likely.