McDonald’s: Vote It Our Way

Coming perilously close to breaking Ohio law, a McDonald’s franchise in Canton thought it appropriate to include with paychecks a memo that strongly hinted at the fact that raises and benefits wouldn’t continue if employees didn’t vote for certain (Republican) candidates.

Note that the letter states, “if the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected we will not.” In other words, vote Republican and you’ll get your raises. Vote Democrat and you won’t.

From ThinkProgress:

Not to mention that Kasich, Portman, and Renacci all oppose the health care reform law, a law that ensures employees like those at McDonald’s can afford health coverage and provides companies like McDonald’s with “significant flexibility to maintain coverage for workers.” And should these three adopt the Republican view of the minimum wage, the only happy face at the this McDonald’s will be the employer’s.

Perhaps realizing the error of his ways, the Franchise owner, Paul Siegfried of Siegfried Industries, apologized for distributing the memo. He did not, however, apologize for the content of the memo.

“As an independent business owner, my employees are a top priority for me. I work hard to create a positive restaurant environment for everyone. I greatly value my employees and the contributions they make to my business, each and every day.

Without a doubt it’s my employees’ right and his or her choice, if they decide to vote, and if so, for whom. I strive to comply with all laws, including state and federal election laws.

Distributing this communication was an error of judgment on my part. Please know, it was never my intention to offend anyone. For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize.”

This less than adequate apology may not assuage the situation, as Adam Serwer from The American Prospect, notes:

Siegfried’s problems may be bigger than Ohio, however. Gerald Hebert, a former Acting Chief of the Voting Section of the Justice Department now with the Campaign Legal Center, said that it’s possible Siegfried’s actions may violate federal law.

Perhaps Mr. Siegfried should have heeded the wisdom of Burger King when they said, “Have it Your Way“, because we’re certainly not lovin’ it.

UPDATE: It looks like there could be more workplace voting issues ahead. Sharon Angle has filed charges with the US Justice Department accusing Harry Reid’s campaign with voter intimidation:

The complaint is based on an article, which appeared Tuesday morning in National Review, that alleged Reid’s campaign worked with sympathetic executives to put pressure on union casino employees to vote.

Supervisors were instructed to track down employees who hadn’t voted and find out why, according to e-mails obtained by reporter and conservative blogger Elizabeth Crum.

Of course, Reid’s campaign denies any such violations.

Reid’s campaign said the e-mails show no malfeasance, pointing out that Crum told Fox News she didn’t think “anything either illegal or unethical was done here.”

“This ‘report’ by a right-wing blogger who’s literally been embedded within the Angle campaign has no credibility on its face,” said Reid campaign spokesman Kelly Steele. “That being said, given Sen. Reid’s work to strengthen the state’s top industry, it should come as no surprise that casino employees support his reelection.”

I’m sure there’s more to come. Meanwhile, you can take a look at the email thread and judge for yourself.