Rite-Hite owner sends employees email warning them of risks of reelecting President Obama

Why does this not surprise me?

Mike White, the chairman and owner of Rite-Hite, a major Milwaukee manufacturer of industrial equipment, wanted to be sure his employees understood what he feels is at stake in the presidential election.

In an email sent this week to employees, White said his workers “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.”

The email, which may conflict with state election law, stunned some employees. One employee said he felt threatened by the email. “It’s a good company, but for this to come out, it’s absurd,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution from management.

The employee said even supervisors were surprised by the tone of the email. “Many were really disappointed to see this,” the employee said.

The email doesn’t mention GOP candidate Mitt Romney by name, but the employee said workers felt it was implicit that they were being encouraged to vote for him.

In his free time, Mike White is a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a conservative organization that seeks to “advances the public interest in the rule of law, individual liberty, constitutional government, and a robust civil society.”

What’s notable about the email sent by Mike White to employees of Rite-Hite is that it may violate state law, specifically Statute 12.03(3), which 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.”

Ironically (but not surprisingly) the Journal Sentinal report indicates that while Mike White was critical of President Obama’s tax policies in the email he sent to his employees, Rite-Hite was actually awarded a grant of just over $26,000 in economic stimulus money under the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

10 comments to Rite-Hite owner sends employees email warning them of risks of reelecting President Obama

  • Logrolling in our time! “Rick Esenberg is the founder and current President and General Counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. … Prior to joining the faculty at Marquette, Rick was Vice President and General Counsel of Rite Hite Holding Corporation in Milwaukee.”

    It’s like they’re connected or something. And isn’t that the picture that the Journal used for his column? Did they take it? Who cares! It gives him a halo, and a chin!

    Quick, we need an op-ed for the Journal, and a blog post at Purple Wisconsin, a version for Shark ‘n Shepherd, a version for the MU Law blog, and another over at WPRI, and copy the talking points to Sykes and Belling.

       0 likes

  • CJ McD

    From a related topic on Uppity Wisconsin–

    Wisconsin Statute 12.07(3),:

    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.

    Is it time to flood the DOJ with calls and emails regarding the tactics being used in WI?

       0 likes

  • Cat Kin

    The question is: who is intimidating Mike White?

    Surely Mr. White has no way of knowing how his employees vote…Does he?

    However, anybody intimidating Mr. White will know whether or not he sent his employees such an email.

       0 likes

  • MadCityMan

    You can voice your displeasure on Twitter using http://www.twitter.com/ritehite @ritehite

    They need to hear that people are paying attention.

    Beyond Rite Hite another company CEO at Request Foods in MI has listened to Romney and is pushing his employees to vote Romney:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/jack-dewitt-mitt-romney_n_2017539.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

    You can let that company know what you think of this action at:
    http://www.requestfoods.com/contactus.html

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  • Duane12

    If business’s can attempt to coerce employees to vote Republican, how about a church group?

    “Green Bay bishop urges parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion, gay marriage”

    More at: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20121026/GPG010404/310260362/Bishop-urges-vote-against-candidates-who-support-abortion-gay-marriage?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|GPG-News&nclick_check=1

    It appears Bishop Ricken is suggesting members of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay vote Republican,”or else” since all the Democratic candidates are pro-choice.

    Read the good Bishop’s letter: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/assets/pdf/U01963741026.PDF

    What is a Catholic voter to do if one candidate is unfaithful to his marriage vows and the other is gay?

    And what about a candidate who said he favors abortion, but now says he is pro-life?

    Should we ask Bishop Ricken if it’s okay to vote for cheaters and liars?

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  • PJ

    On a related note, employers in some states can confiscate your tax withholdings and donate those monies to any candidate of their choice. And in Pennsylvania, a new law allows an employer to collect your taxes for their own private use bypassing the trickle-down machine altogether:

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/12366-paying-taxes-to-your-boss-a-step-toward-21st-century-feudalism

    Author Tim Price describes it as feudalism, and he’s right.

       1 likes

  • Ernest Martinson

    This is almost as bad as being forced to contribute protection mony to a union as a condition of employment.

       0 likes

    • PJ

      Ernest,
      Pity your analogy doesn’t make sense from any standpoint. Unions are democratic structures that are in place to ensure the economic livelihoods of laborers don’t devolve into third world working conditions.

      Corporations are Anti-Democratic structures that are attempting to exert authoritarian control over the entirety of the economy – a position they do not deserve.

      The racketeers are the Rite-Hites. Rite-Hite and their ilk are extortionists and exploitation artists that extract revenue from the public purse by demanding tax breaks they do not warrant, most are fiercely anti-union and as such are dragging down America’s standard of living to that of slave wage, they’re purchasing our republic by buying our politicians, and now they are extorting individual votes from their employees.

      America is evolving into a capitalist dictatorship, and we’re moving closer toward it at a quickening pace. Perhaps you’d support a move in that direction, Ernest, you seem to be heading that way with your corporate propaganda.

      Anti-Union = Anti-Democracy

      Juan Cole has a nice piece summing up the features of capitalist dictatorship emerging in the American political landscape, then again perhaps you’re already on board, Ernest. For the rest of us, however, it’s a good read given the subject at hand:

      http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/14295-capitalist-dictatorship-in-romney-campaign

         0 likes

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