If you work for this Canton, Ohio McDonald's franchise, you'd better be voting Republican if you know what's good for you.
Along with their recent paychecks, employees received a pamphlet from their employer on company letter head that stated “as the election season is here, we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future.” While pointing out that the vote is the employee’s “personal decision,” the pamphlet explicitly 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”:
The "right people" are John Kasich, Rob Portman, and Jim Renacci for this franchisee.
There's only one small problem with that handbill: It's illegal for employers in Ohio to include anything that will influence employees' electoral decisions with paychecks. There's a reason for that, of course. Employees who depend on the meager income they earn from a McDonald's job will take seriously the threat of not having a job if they don't elect the 'right people'.
Of course, McDonald's has a vested interest in repealing the Affordable Care Act (a promise Renacci and Portman have both run on): Their 'minimed' health plan won't qualify as an acceptable plan under the expanded definition of basic benefits, nor should it. The only people who really benefit from 'minimed' plans are the employers, who get to say they give low-paid employees health benefits, and the insurers, who get to collect 50% of what they are at risk to pay out.
I should also note that McDonald's restaurants are all individually franchised, so this mailer does not reflect the attitude of the McDonald's national franchise. This effort to intimidate employees into voting for Republicans appears to be the brain child of this one Canton, Ohio franchise owner.
But still, it's pretty nervy to actually include a threat in a paycheck that looks like this:
Update via Adam Serwer:
In response to inquiries, Paul Siegfried, the owner of Siegfried Enterprises which owns the Canton McDonalds, released a statement confessing to an "error in judgement," and offered a hedged apology to "those that I have offended." The statement reads:
"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."
Yeah, this apology is like unringing a bell. For starters, he doesn't actually retract what he said about Democrats standing in the way of their benefits and raises, and the comment about "striving to comply with all laws" is not exactly an apology for the content as much as an apology to try and stave off consequences for breaking existing election laws.
But hey, at least he didn't ask his employees to apologize for the insert. There's that, anyway.