I met with the grocer for a pleasant Sunday brunch on October 21. I had contacted him a couple of days earlier saying I had a copy of the note he had given his employees and that I was puzzled by it. We chatted for a while and he agreed to meet.
At the brunch I outlined my disagreement with the content of the note and my concern that it was misleading his employees. He told me that the information came from the professional associations to which he belonged and from others in the association.
I gave him a packet of information containing copies of articles from conservative but reliable publications and offered to send them all to him via e-mail as well so he had the links. He asked me to do so. We parted with a handshake and his assurance that he would look at everything.
Yesterday, at his store, the night manager handed me an envelope with the following in it. I have confirmed it was in all of their paychecks on Wednesday.
Remarkable! I called him last night and thanked him. He volunteered that he had sent a copy of the note with all of the references he used to the members of his grocers’ association. As a result he has had what he calls “some interesting conversations.” SO, there you go.
THE GROCER RESCINDS HIS MESSAGE TO HIS EMPLOYEES:
October 24, 2012
Dear Friends and Neighbors who happen to also be my employees,
I am writing you because a note I gave you in your last paycheck has raised some questions. A well informed customer saw the note and has brought a number of facts to my attention. My intentions were honorable. I was sharing information with you that came from those I trusted. It now appears that I was misled.
Please disregard that note. I suggest that you look into each of the claims that were contained in it. I suggest that you use national and trusted news sources to do so. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and television. In particular I recommend the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Time Magazine and Bloomberg News.
I am willing to share the information I now have available with any employee who would like it. I have made copies of that information and it can be found in folders in the employee lunch room.
In that pack of material you will also find information regarding how large national and international corporations like Wal Mart are trying to drive stores like ours out of business. What is especially disturbing is that they often get help from local governments in setting up shop at bargain prices.
I have had to rethink my own vote and while I have not reached a final decision I promise to base it on what I now know.
I look forward to working with each of you for many years to come.
IT’S NOT JUST THE BIG GUYS WHO ARE DOING THIS
Siegel, Allen, the Kochs and fellow plutocrats have generated headlines for letters to employees warning that a vote for Obama is a vote against their own employment.
Midsized and small business owners are doing the same
I shop for a multi-family cooperative.
We have agreed to shop at a local Independent Grocer who has been in business in our area for 100 years rather than at one of the superchains.
Three nights ago one of the staff slipped me a sheet of paper when I was checking out.
The paper was a note from her employer, the sole owner of the grocery store.
In the note the employer said that a vote for Obama was a vote to close the store BECAUSE
a) Obamacare would force him to get health insurance for his employees.
(He has far fewer than the required 50 full time equivalent employees.)
b) Obama intends to raise corporate taxes to 40 percent
(Obama has proposed lowering it to 28 percent (from 35 percent) and is open to a drop of another point or two)
c) Obama intends to put in a 1 Percent Financial Transaction Tax to fund Obamacare
There is no basis for this
d) Obama’s energy policies are responsible for the high cost of gas which is driving up costs
Gas is an international commodity and Presidents have virtually no impact on gas costs (recall that Bush had gas prices of $4.18 for nearly a month in early 2008. Even so the U.S. is producing more oil than ever.
e) Obama is opposed to the family farm and local production.
Which Party killed the Farm Bill which provided for drought relief aimed at small farmers, and which Party is aligned with Wal Mart which is the most direct threat this small grocer now has?
I called the employee who gave me the note and asked if the employees were taking the note seriously. Absolutely. She also told me that the note was largely copied from a model handed out to the Independent Grocers Association to which the owner belongs.
Here is the thing of course. Having Health Care via the pool options that will be available to his employees will actually encourage them to stay with him. Having an administration that wants to keep small farms and local business strong would be good for him and other small town vendors. AND the reduction in corporate rates and small business loan programs proposed by the Obama adminstration will be of direct benefit.
SO THE OWNER IS TELLING HIS EMPLOYEES TO VOTE AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS AND HIS!
Some have suggested that we should boycott the store. But supporting the local grocer is supporting those employees and commerce in our small town. I do not want to get the employee in trouble.I do not want to hurt the business of a store that is now in competition with two mega stores within driving distance.
So I am going to wait a few more days and then assemble several articles from conservative sources and on line government documents that address each of the points the owner made in his employee note. My effort will be to do this in a friendly manner and suggest that he is working against his own interests.
The owner is the third in his family to run the story that opened its doors in 1902.
He is a good man and cares for his town, his employees and his customers. But he is a small town, country kind of person and not very sophisticated. I suspect he is just passing on what he has been told by his grocers’ association and by his church. In this he is a victim as well.
PLEASE NOTE: The image accompanying this story IS NOT a picture of the store in this article. It is taken from WikiMedia Commons.