Bosses Telling Employees How They Should Vote

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
Bosses Telling Employees How They Should Vote

We've already done pastors; what about bosses?

Romney's NFIB Call: GOP hopeful tells employers to tell employees who to vote for.

Thanks to Citizens United, employers can legally tell their employees who they think they should vote for. Mitt Romney wants small business owners to do just that this November.

"I hope you make 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," the GOP hopeful told a group of small business owners this summer on a conference call organized by the conservative-leaning National Federation of Independent Businesses.

"And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope?I hope you pass those along to your employees," he continued at the tail end of a call during which he attacked the president as anti-business. "Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well."

The call, recorded on June 6, was first published yesterday evening by In These Times, a liberal magazine based in Chicago, and later picked up by ThinkProgress and the Huffington Post, among others. While the practice of an employer offering voting advice to an employee appears to be perfectly legal (as Romney points out), it's nonetheless a somewhat controversial practice that never goes over well with liberals who see lines like "in the best interest of ... their job" as akin to "vote for my guy or else."

You can click the link for a full audio of the call.

So, what do you think? It's legal for bosses to tell their employees who they should vote for, but do you think it is a good practice?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

If they tell them they have to vote one way or promise to vote one way to keep their job or for any other benefit/harm, then no, it isn't a good practice. If they work for the coal/oil/medical industry and are told they should vote for Romney, I can't see it as a big surprise.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I think someone telling someone else who they want them to vote for is not a big deal. Telling someone they will lose their job if they do not vote a certain way is wrong.

DH used to work for a free lance interpreting company. He knew that many of the people including his boss had different political viewpoints than he did. He was careful not to put a Republican bumper sticker on his car while he worked there.

No one should be able to go to the poll place and know who you vote for. Some one (including a pastor, union rep, or a boss) can tell you who they think is a good choice, and who they want you to vote for, but they can't force you to vote that way or threaten you if you don't.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Just like with the pastors, I'm against it. I don't think know that it needs to be illegal per se, but I do think it's a gross over stepping of their boundaries. I can just picture a bunch of bosses sitting around and brow beating their employees about who they are going to vote for; sounds like an incredibly unpleasant work environment. I don't even like discussing politics with my coworkers who are my "equals" because I think it's rude and doesn't serve a good purpose in the workplace, let alone having to sit and listen to someone who I may feel afraid to contradict because I don't know for sure that it won't impact my job.

(Sure, it's not supposed to, but people get cuh-razy over politics, boycotting pizza places because the owner hugged Obama and stuff...depending on the boss I wouldn't necessarily believe that if I disagreed with him/her that might not cause them to think less of me and impact my job.)

I have a lot of Conservative family members and so lately my FB feed has been full of things like "I cannot understand how any sane intelligent person could possibly vote for Obama." (and also some of the same sort of stuff about Romney from some of my liberal contacts - DH's uncle is the WORST) and I picture having that guy for a boss, and I know that I would NOT feel free to have a two way discussion about it. So yeah, sounds awful to me.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

As in the pastor debate I don't think it's appropriate for your boss to advise you who the best candidate is to vote for. It seems threatening. I know I recently read an article about a boss who is threatening to lay off workers should Obama win (not even if they vote for Romney or not) so the fate of their employment rests on the entire country and that's awful to me!

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I don't think it is wrong for a boss to share their personal opinion about who you should vote for, especially if it may affect the business you are working for. If the company is in the coal industry you can bet those bosses are suggesting to their employees that their livelihood may depend on Romney winning, which is a fact. No one is forcing you to do anything, the boss can't go with you into the voting booth so it is only a suggestion, nothing more.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

Just like pastors, or unions, bosses can put it out there who they think people should vote for. Business owners have a huge stake in how this election turns out, the different candidates have vastly different views on small business, so I can see them wanting to make sure their employees understand how the election could effect the business

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Exactly! Why should unions be able to express their opinion but your boss can't? Seems a little lopsided to me.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"mom3girls" wrote:

Just like pastors, or unions, bosses can put it out there who they think people should vote for. Business owners have a huge stake in how this election turns out, the different candidates have vastly different views on small business, so I can see them wanting to make sure their employees understand how the election could effect the business

This is true. Like it or not, if Obama wins will affect some people's job. There is nothing wrong with a business owner telling his employees that it will hurt the company if Obama wins. Likewise if there was an industry that Romney was against, it would not be wrong for an employer to educate people to that.

The media does not have to be the only source of information when it comes to choosing who you are going to vote for.

DH's insurance company has not been shy at all about telling its members that the reason premiums have gone up so drastically is because of Obamacare and the extra costs related to it.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I don't think unions should do it either.

I think your dh's insurance company is not telling the complete truth. Sad

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

"Jessica80" wrote:

I don't think unions should do it either.

I think your dh's insurance company is not telling the complete truth. Sad

You dont believe that Obamacare has had an effect on health insurance cost?

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I think it might be good for employers to let employees know the negatives that may happen if some policies get into place and which candidate is supporting them.. IE mentioning that Universal Health care might bankrupt a small S Corp or that they would need everyone to go part time instead is a forwarning, and isn't nearly the extent of what Unions do. I do think it is wrong for Unions to force Union dues, and then pay to support a candidate or measure. And then be able to see who votes "correctly" or not.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"Jessica80" wrote:

I think your dh's insurance company is not telling the complete truth. Sad

This might be true. I don't know how to find out if it is or not. However, in the month before the election thousands of people were told their health insurance was going to go up $100 a month and that Obamacare was the reason. It does stand to reason though if the insurance company has to put everyone 26 and under on their parents insurance, provide BC to everyone for free, and other situations like that, that they will not just absorb those costs but pass them onto their members. Our insurance premiums have gone from roughly $200/month to roughly $400/month in the time since Obamacare passed.

Regardless of what you think of either candidate it is an indisputable fact that the cost of insurance has gone up drastically and wages have gone down. I do not think it is unreasonable for a company to tell its employees why they think this has happened.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

I think people in positions of power over us should hold their opinions. Should it be illegal? I think it is walking a fine line anid people should be careful. We should not have to tell who we voted for though, and we should be protected from being fired from things like this.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

It is an interesting thought.. however what if they never said anything.. and then had to layoff a bunch of people due to a policy passing, or a cut etc... you don't think the workers would have liked to know in advance?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"myyams" wrote:

I think people in positions of power over us should hold their opinions. Should it be illegal? I think it is walking a fine line anid people should be careful. We should not have to tell who we voted for though, and we should be protected from being fired from things like this.

No one said anything about having to tell who you voted for. No one knows who you voted for except you and God. Even if you did tell how would anyone know if that is actually how you did vote?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"myyams" wrote:

I think people in positions of power over us should hold their opinions. Should it be illegal? I think it is walking a fine line anid people should be careful. We should not have to tell who we voted for though, and we should be protected from being fired from things like this.

I do not understand this position. If an administration's policies are going to cause a business to go under (And lets be honest, Obama is hostile to small business and Romney has said he is not in support of big business bailouts), that the business should have to hide that from its employees? The business should be able to state who is going to best represent them. (Same as a Pastor)

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I say I think they aren't completely telling the truth (not saying allowing for add'l coverages doesn't change premiums) by blaming everything on NHCR. I think it's an easy way out to explain their own increases as well.

Another target of NHCR is to help lower health care costs through a variety of channels so over time you will see first a lesser increase in forthcoming years and then a decrease. Without this modification your insurance premiums would continue to skyrocket without the added benefits of NHCR like coverage for your children until age 26 or not being able to have ANY insurance because you were determined by your private insurer to have a pre-existing condition. I think it's a fair trade.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I also say hogwash to those that all of sudden cannot get health insurance for their employees so they are forced to go to part timers. 5 years after our Mass. HCR I don't see a lot of part timers. I have full time work and everyone else I know does well (and I got my job in 2009!) It's a scare tactic.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not understand this position. If an administration's policies are going to cause a business to go under (And lets be honest, Obama is hostile to small business and Romney has said he is not in support of big business bailouts), that the business should have to hide that from its employees? The business should be able to state who is going to best represent them. (Same as a Pastor)

Gloria and Alyssa. I think the reason is because politics gets people riled up and I would not want to create a hostile work environment, esp because a lot of places can hire and fire at their pleasure. Voters should do their own leg work and sort out truth from fiction.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"myyams" wrote:

Gloria and Alyssa. I think the reason is because politics gets people riled up and I would not want to create a hostile work environment, esp because a lot of places can hire and fire at their pleasure. Voters should do their own leg work and sort out truth from fiction.

Yes, this is what I'm trying to say. I think having your boss potentially ranting at you about who you should vote for (and many people probably not feeling like they are able to publically disagree or else potentially risk it impacting their job) is a really negative work environment. I think people are smart enough to figure out for themselves who they think is going to be more beneficial to themselves and their families; I don't think they need their bosses breathing down their necks about it.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

It is those that currently do NOT offer healthcare that are going to be forced to under ObamaCare that will not be able to. I know many small businesses that are just barely paying their owners/managers living wage.. or below living wage.. just above Min wage for the state, and the rest of the workers are getting minimum wage. They in no way could survive if they had to pay for healthcare for all their fulltime employees (as far as I read the fulltime employees are the ones that will be required to have paid for healthcare by their employers) They would have to either lay off people to pay for the healthcare of the few, or reduce everyone's hours so as not to have to pay... Doubt they could afford the fee for not paying for healthcare either. The option of raise the price of their goods or services is not a viable option either as they are already getting less and less customers/clients because the cost of living is too high... just to pay for gas/milk etc.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Well one thing is if they are truly 'small' they don't have to provide insurance (for example, if there are 3 employees they are not required etc.)

I also think providing only minimum wage to your employees is awful. At least here, you cannot even afford an apartment on min. wage never mind health care.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"Jessica80" wrote:

I think it's a fair trade.

I do not. An extra hundred dollars a month is a lot of money.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I guess we can agree to disagree. I would rather pay more and get more and be guaranteed I can keep any coverage I'm paying into and not dropped for X or Y reason.

I also would never work for anyone who didn't provide insurance (minus my last job but I had insurance through dh) so I guess the idea that one would is slightly foreign to me.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

I think it's unethical. Workers are grown ups and can decide for themselves who they think would be best. Work can be stressful enough without having to worry your boss will fire you for who you vote for in the election. Aren't our votes supposed to be private and free??

This is just a stupid scare tactic. Was very disgusted to read the articles on some of mitt romney's supporters doing this. I don't care if you are for obama, romney, or an alien, it's a lousy thing to threaten your employees with their jobs.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

I just can't fathom any boss telling employees who they should vote for. No person, no matter their rank in the workplace, should ever be allowed to get away with attempting to influence the votes of his or her subordinates. Ever.

For Romney to even suggest this is just gross. Can't do it off your own merits but want the bosses out there to strong-arm their direct reports....That just puts the a$$ in class.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Alyssa~ earlier in the debate you said the media is not the only place for info and I agree. Should you go to your boss, your pastor, your neighbor, your husband etc. and ask for opinions if they are willing to share on one candidate vs. another then that's awesome. Gathering all the info you can makes you an informed voter.

Going to work and being told a certain candidate is going to hurt your job is threatening.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"Jessica80" wrote:

Alyssa~ earlier in the debate you said the media is not the only place for info and I agree. Should you go to your boss, your pastor, your neighbor, your husband etc. and ask for opinions if they are willing to share on one candidate vs. another then that's awesome. Gathering all the info you can makes you an informed voter.

Going to work and being told a certain candidate is going to hurt your job is threatening.

It is the truth that certain candidates are more supporting of certain industries than others. There is nothing wrong with sending out a memo outlining that. Saying vote for so and so or I will fire you is threatening. Should Obama not be allowed to tell his employees who he would like for them to vote for?

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

It is the truth that certain candidates are more supporting of certain industries than others. There is nothing wrong with sending out a memo outlining that. Saying vote for so and so or I will fire you is threatening. Should Obama not be allowed to tell his employees who he would like for them to vote for?

In a personal conversation, sure he can promote himself.

I find telling your employees that a certain candidate is for your industry and can be detrimental to your company/job is threatening.

ETA~I meant to put that the other candidate is detrimental to your company/job is threatening not the candidate for your industry.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I don't think it's right for an employer to do this. The president has a lot of power, but the fact is that he can't do most things without the approval of Congress -- or the courts. So to tell your employees that Obama getting elected is going to be the death-knell of your industry is just flat-out lying. Obama can't do that alone. Neither can Romney. And even if your industry is "wiped out" there will be retraining programs to help those people get into other industries; you might actually end up better off than living as a coal miner.