Written by David Greenwald Tuesday, 06 November 2012 09:20
The letter dated October 27, 2012 reads, "I am joining other business owners around the nation in asking employees to vote for Romney & Ryan."
She continues, "This is a first for me. It is your choice who you vote for, but I want to share with you my concerns and how I feel it will impact our company."
While she is clear that it is the individual's choice, Ms. Anderson does add, "it will impact each employee."
While Jennifer Anderson argues that this is a first for her, the Vanguard actually began receiving complaints about Jennifer Anderson and Davis Ace in the 2010 elections.
At that time, the employee was reluctant to come forward, fearing identification and retribution. The Vanguard forwarded the complaints and the matter to the Davis Downtown Business Association.
At that time, the individual complained that Davis Ace, on at least two occasions, distributed political propaganda along with employees' paychecks. The political information, as well as the employer's opinions about various political issues, and paychecks were being handed out together.
The paycheck is grabbed, then the political propaganda, and then they were both given to the employee together.
The individual however indicated that they were not physically attached together - i.e. not stapled or clipped - nor were they enclosed in the envelope containing the paycheck.
While Ms. Anderson suggests that this was a first for her in the October 27, 2012 letter, the employee at that time indicated that two incidences preceded the upcoming election, and they continued with several points, arguments and suggestions made by the employer both times, within the body of the political propaganda.
On June 8, 2012 they wrote employees: "We are supporting fiscally conservative candidates. We are deeply concerned with the fiscal state of Davis, Yolo County, California and the Federal budget. No balanced budget, deficit spending. More laws make it difficult to comply and will add expense to the business. More expenses equals a smaller bottom line profit. More programs, mean more taxes, means a smaller take home paycheck. It is that simple. We urge you to ask financial questions. We believe in individual responsibility and accountability."
September 2, 2012, about Repeal Obamacare, was an opinion editorial: "I am concerned that with continuing soft sales - we will reduce our payroll. And if healthcare becomes too expensive - we will stop offering health care. I certainly will not be re-investing because there will not be the money to do so - and if taxes increase - all of us will suffer with less money to spend - which will continue to spiral downward."
A source indicated that Davis Act has an "Employee Pledge," which they claim for the success of the company all must abide by.
The first rule (pledge) is: "I pledge to read all company bulletins, newsletters and notices that are either posted on bulletin boards or included with my paycheck, since they are for the best interests to all employees."
Ascertaining the legality of these actions is somewhat tricky, but there are at least two applicable sections of the CA Elections Code.
Section 8540: (a) Every person who makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence, or tactic of coercion or intimidation, to induce or compel any other person to vote or refrain from voting at any election or to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure at any election, or because any person voted or refrained from voting at any election or voted or refrained from voting for any particular person or measure at any election is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.
Section 8542: Every employer, whether a corporation or natural person, or any other person who employs, is guilty of a misdemeanor if, in paying his or her employees the salary or wages due them, encloses their pay in pay envelopes upon which or in which there is written or printed the name of any candidate or any political mottoes, devices, or arguments containing threats, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees.
In the October 27, 2012 letter she argues that "Obamacare will change our business and our benefits to our employees." She adds, "We have a huge number of unemployed and underemployed people in the U.S... This affects everyone's lives."
She argued, "This affects us because I won't hire more people" as she sees Obamacare costing their business and that taxations will cost them more.
"While all of these may not affect you - they do affect us and they affect our family and our company," she wrote.
She concludes the letter: "I am not perfect. I have put my heart and soul into this company on behalf of our family, and for the benefit of our employees and all of our families."
She adds, "I don't want to be told 'I did not build' this company. I have earned what I have done. Yes, I did 'get the job' through our family, however, I could have destroyed this company with poor management - but I haven't. Together, with our team, we have helped it grow and prosper and contribute back to this community."
"I want our President to help us do that for our country. Please vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on November 6. The outcome will affect our business. The choice is yours."
There is nothing wrong with the letter from a legal point of view, unlike perhaps distributing propaganda with a paycheck. Nevertheless, in this community, it does not seem like a good business move.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
If we were in Nevada or Ohio this might matter. Here in California, where Obama will win by 10 or 20 points, its just a cravenly emotional cry in the night. I have friends that worked for Bush but we never get too worked up about our political differences. Although she did offer to put a Romney lawn sign in front of the house for me my friend and I understand that since California is not in play there is no reason to get worked up about it on a local level. The notion that the owner of one of the oldest businesses in town, a business that is protected by barriers to entry, in a town that has an almost recession proof public university, would engage in this sort of politics is just weird.
This is no different than the kind of anti-union indoctrination that Wal-Mart uses. If we are going to go back to the Laissez Faire capitalism that allows this why keep Wal-Mart out? I say bring in Home Depot and Rusty will be free to subsidize the higher prices that support bullying by the bosses at Davis Ace if he chooses.
> My bottom-line on this is that reasonable
> people can agree to disagree reasonably.
Then David wrote:
> I absolutely agree Matt - but does putting pressure
> on your employees given your unequal power relationship
> meet that standard.
Other than David's inflammatory headline that the Davis ACE "pushes" employees to vote for Romney is there any evidence that the people from ACE are using their power as an employer to "push" or "put pressure" on people to vote for Romney any more that the person that sent me the "voter guide" I got in the mail yesterday is "pushing" me to vote for Obama?
As I've mentioned before I'm not a fan of the Davis ACE and I'm not voting for Romney, but I think it is sleazy to make accusations that they are actually pressuring people to vote one way (like making employees show their completed absentee ballot before they get paid) if there is no evidence.
P.S. David will find out that "Unions are NOT a relationship among equals" if he wears a Romney for President/Yes on 32 T Shirt to a union hall and tells them that he has the right to express his opinion since they are all equals (he probably will not have time to say anything before the guys start to beat the crap out of him)...
I think David articulated it perfectly: "... business owners and managers have a power asymmetry." The hierarchy is absolute and understood by all. These are not peers having a conversation. It is a subliminal threat.
I couldn't care less who she thinks will be the better president, but this action says a great deal about the (lack of) respect she has for her employees. I have a great many people who work under me but under no circumstances would I interject my personal beliefs into our professional relationship. Like it or not, this puts employees in an uncomfortable place and poisons the working relationship. A long-time business owner should have known better.
I read about this sort of thing recently happening with Koch brothers businesses. Legal but sleazy. Now, on a smaller scale, it's happening here. As I said, I don't care about her politics, but I do care about how businesses treat their employees. There are alternatives like Hibbert and OSH where employees seem to be held in higher regard and respect.
Unions are a relationship among equals
That is a knee-slapper! Unions are a power hierarchy like no other.
I don't have a problem with the letter to employees from Ms. Anderson. If Obama wins, at least she can tell the employees she warned them of the consequences. There is nothing in her communication that is threatening or vitriolic. The information she provided is factual.
It is about time that private business owners started countering the brain-washing coming from government-funded enterprise.
> I couldn't care less who she thinks will be the
> better president, but this action says a great
> deal about the (lack of) respect she has for
> her employees.
I don't care who anyone thinks will be a better president, but I find it strange that people on the left don't seem to care when business owners on the left share their political opinions but freak out if anyone on the right speaks their mind. I bet I see 10 times more left leaning signs, t-shirts and stickers year after year and I just don't care. I don't care if the Co-Op tells employees to vote for Prop. 37 (I know they took the signs down) or if Monsanto tells employees to vote against Prop 37 just like I don't care if a crazy Republican puts a "War is the Answer" sign in his yard as a protest to the dozens of "War is not the Answer" signs all over town.
Then how does she think Davis Ace employees are going to be adversely affected by an Obama re-election?
Jennifer was extremely rude to me at a public Chamber event years ago. She didn't know me. I was a nobody to her and she made that very clear to me. I have had difficulty shopping at Davis Ace ever since. I am not surprised that she would promote her political choices to her employees in such an official manner, as if it would matter.
Then how does she think Davis Ace employees are going to be adversely affected by an Obama re-election?
Higher taxes on business and business owners.
I don't care who anyone thinks will be a better president, but I find it strange that people on the left don't seem to care when business owners on the left share their political opinions but freak out if anyone on the right speaks their mind.
I agree with SouthofDavis here. I think if Ms. Anderson had done exactly the same but recommended Obama, the Vanguard would not have have posted any article.
I used to be the aircraft mechanic and FAA-Authorized Inspector for the work on her Dad's Cessna Turbo 210 aircraft, before I got buried in UCD work and classes. You'll never meet a nicer guy, and he cared alot about the employees at Davis Lumber. You can tell a lot about the kids by whome their parents are.
I understand Jennifer's frustrations. My view it that President Obama should have poured all of that bank bailout money into small business and family housholds directly, not giving it away to the Wall Street friends of Tim Geithner. All of the small businesses I know in Davis have been sucking air for 5 years. It's terrible, and still not measurably better.
However, I dont think I would hand out political literature when I give out the paychecks. I would write a letter to the Editor, post on the Vanguard, and leave copies in the break room for employees, if they wished, to pick up and read. I think her heart is in the right place, wanting to share her concerns with others, but the process was a bit awkward.
This should blow over, today.
"While Ms. Anderson suggests that this was a first for her in the October 27, 2012 letter, the employee at that time indicated that two incidences preceded the upcoming election ..."
Perhaps, if Measure E passes, the DJUSD should offer bonehead English courses for adults in Davis. Then again, considering that our school district is run by boneheads who could not construct a ballot question without errors, maybe grammar in Davis needs to be taught by someone who is not on the DJUSD payroll.
In case Measure E fails here is the distinction I learned in the second grade between 'incidents' and an 'incidence': the former are "individual events;" the latter is the rate at which something occurs.
"Due to increasing consumption of sugar, the incidence of diabetes in the United States is growing."
"I think if Ms. Anderson had done exactly the same but recommended Obama, the Vanguard would not have have posted any article."
Agreed. Moreover, David would have said such an endorsement of his prefered candidate showed she was enlightened.
To me this is all a question of free speech. No one who works for Davis Ace has to vote one way or another.
And as a number of people have noted above, it is all meaningless in our state: California would be won by Obama even if every person in Davis voted for Mr. Romney.
Oh .... along these lines: Nate Silver's latest projection has Obama up quite a bit higher than was the case just yesterday. His EC projection is now 313 to 225 in favor of Mr. Obama. That is an insurmountable lead. Yet a week and a half after the first presidential debate, 538's projection had the EC race quite close. I think at one point Obama was down to about 280 EC votes. Romney did not lead. But it was looking close. Since then, everything seems to have moved (slightly) in favor the the president.
The first presidential election results are in - and it's a tie.
President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, each received five votes in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.
The town in the state's northeast corner has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960 - but today's tie was the first in its history.
The result was unexpected, said town clerk Dick Erwin. The town has two registered Democrats, three Republicans and five independents.
"Considering the way things are polling around the country, we may have been the first tie of the day," said town clerk Dick Erwin, noting the national polls showing a virtual dead heat in the race. "Keep your eyes on the news reports, because it's going to be a wild ride."
JB: Why the fixation over Nate Silver's projections? He is a bit of an outlier.
He's had an impressive record calling a number of races in recent years.
However, we'll see if his predictions hold by this time tomorrow.