Workers at a major home improvement retailer are getting company-sponsored lessons from the likes of Herman Cain on American government.
Menards, a popular Midwest home improvement chain, has been encouraging its employees to take an at-home civics course, AlterNet reports. The “civics” mostly involve Republican talking points -- you know, like limited government and taxation. The course, which the company has been pushing workers to take since the Iowa caucuses, includes information from Prosperity 101, a program developed by political operatives linked to the Koch brothers.
Though the Menards course manual obtained by AlterNet doesn’t tell employees to vote a certain way, it’s critical of “government takeovers of entire industries like health care,” as well as high taxation, cites former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and claims that more 18-34 year olds believe in UFOs than Social Security.
“Our country is now in the middle of an experiment based on a broken economic premise: Government can drive demand and stimulate growth,” a manual for course 3 of the program, entitled “American Job Security,” states. A copy of the manual was obtained by AlterNet.
Menards is just one of many companies encouraging its workers to turn right. David Siegel, CEO of major timeshare chain Westgate Resorts, told his employees in an email last month that he would have no choice but to reduce the size of his company if Obama was reelected. Wynn Resorts, the third-largest casino operator in the country, mailed its 12,000 Nevada employees a voter guide last month. The company’s CEO told The Huffington Post that “I’m urging my employees to vote for Romney.”
Even Romney encouraged this behavior when he told business owners on a conference call in June to tell their workers who they support and what the election’s outcome will mean for their business.
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The Koch Brothers
The Koch Brothers are known for being outspoken supporters of right-wing politicians. They have <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer">donated millions of dollars</a> to Republican campaigns, and now they are trying to influence votes in a new way: by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/14/koch-romney-brothers-mitt_n_1965366.html">emailing 50,000 of their employees</a> urging them to vote for Romney.
Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegal recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/david-siegel-email-intimidate_n_1957743.html">emailed his employees</a> saying that if Obama wins the election, he will be forced to downsize his company. Siegal insists this statement was <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/David-Siegel-Anti-Obama-email-wasn-t-a-threat-to-employees/-/1637132/16929310/-/5jsbkyz/-/index.html">not a threat</a> and that no employee would be fired for voting for Obama, WKMG Local 6 reports. Pictured: Siegel's famously unfinished mansion.
Jack DeWitt, CEO of frozen food company Request Foods, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/jack-dewitt-mitt-romney_n_2017539.html?1351190686">endorsed Mitt Romney</a> and called President Obama a "complete failure" in his employee newsletter.
Scott Farmer, CEO of uniform manufacturer Cintas, recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/cintas-ceo-scott-farmer-obamacare-email_n_2019292.html">sent an email</a> to his employees saying that if Obama wins the election they may lose their healthcare and even jobs, urging them to vote for Romney.
Brooks Smith, CEO of gift card purveyor Incomm, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/10/romney-fundraising-email-ceo-incomm-brooks-smith">recently forwarded</a> a Romney campaign fundraising email to his staff, Mother Jones reports.
Mike White, the CEO of Rite-Hite, a manufacturer of loading dock equipment, told his employees that they would suffer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/mike-white-ceo-email_n_2017372.html">"personal consequences</a>" if Obama is reelected.
Richard Lacks, CEO of car-parts manufacturer Lacks Enterprises, recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/lacks-enterprises-ceo-richard-lacks-mitt-romney_n_1947737.html">encouraged his employees</a> to vote for Romney, saying that another Obama term would mean higher taxes and lower wages.
Robert Murray, CEO of coal company Murray Enterprises, not only <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/bob-murray-mitt-romney-miners_n_1940563.html">put pressure on his employees</a> to vote for Romney, but also forced them to give up a day's pay to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/murray-energy-romney_n_1950724.html">attend a Romney rally</a>. The Ohio Democratic Party is <a href="http://ohiodems.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Murray_Energy_Letter11.pdf">planning a criminal investigation.</a>
Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/20/arthur-allen_n_1992370.html">sent an email to employees</a> requesting that they donate to Romney's campaign, arguing that by doing so, his employees would be helping ASG and themselves.