UPDATED: 10-27-2012

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.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX

======================================================================

(Original Post:)

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.

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Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican (from 1965 through 2004)who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. I was a professor of history, and am now a researcher and gentleman farmer. My political positions are mixed - thus my preferred identification as a Progressive Independent. I am conservative on matters of military intervention, in regard to abortion, immigration, the public school system, gun rights, taxation, voter ID. But I am a traditional conservative, a Buckley, National Review, Eisenhower Republican..... I am a liberal on matters of health care care, funding education, taxation (yes one can be both liberal and conservative on this), civil rights, and alternative energy development/climate change.

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glenn
Member
glenn

WOW! Good job, Murph. I especially like the part about the owner sharing your information with his association. Perhaps it’s not too late to reach people who have been so misled. Good on ya!

bito
Member

Good job Murph, It’s unfortunate that some of the bigger employers can’t or don’t want to see the light like your small town grocer did.
He is truly a small businessman and many associations that say they represent him ,like the Grocers Association, Independent Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce, don’t represent them, the real small business owners. They too often represent the interests that want to put your friend OUT OF BUSINESS!

If there is one thing that all the government agencies need is one and one only definition of “small business.” It can’t be 50 or less employees for one agency and 500 or less for another agency all calling them “small business.” Your friend can’t compete nor be really represented by the same association that represents a billion dollar hedge fund can they even though they are both considered a small business.
Sorry, a bit of a diversion but that is where he gets his information from, groups that don’t really represent the small store owner.

Good job, Murph and as Sue mentioned it so often takes one person at a time.

SueInCa
Member

Good job Murph. Educating the populace one person at a time is just as good as anything out there. You have fortitude and guts and I thank you for stepping up to the plate.

SueInCa
Member

Good luck with that one, Murph. This guy is being hurt by the big guy but is still voting against his own best interests and telling employees what to do? Personally no employer could tell me who to vote for, as no church can either. But I understand there are people out there who truly believe he can somehow find out who they voted for.

I just do not understand that mentality. Perhaps it is because of where I grew up and the politics in our home but I just do no understand how these people think. I know exactly how the Kochs and Waltons think.

SallyT
Member

Murph, I put a link to Bill Moyers show in the Off Topic section. It was:
When Bosses Push Their Politics
I probably should have put it here but I goofed. I will put the link here, too, for you.

http://billmoyers.com/segment/bill-moyers-essay-when-bosses-push-their-politics/

AdLib
Admin

Reading your recent comment, it is ironic that the true cause of this man’s business problems is the corporate Republican mentality that has brought a Walmart into town and drained away his customers and revenues…and instead of recognizing his true adversary, he has been manipulated by the Repub/Fox propaganda to fear the black President for a variety of trumped up lies.

It’s all about re-directing the justifiable anger such people should have for the system controlled by the Repubs/Corporations/The Wealthy and aiming it at those who represent a threat to perpetuating that system.

This businessman is being used and manipulated and is oblivious. It’s hard to penetrate the denial and desperately needed “enemy” mentality such folks are conditioned to be addicted to but sometimes, there’s a little opening to slip some reality in and get them to re-examine their misguided views.

bito
Member

According to Murph, the owner even said he had grown sales every year since 1990 until Wally World opened last year ( http://planetpov.com/2012/10/18/business-owners-vote-romney-or-else/comment-page-1/#comment-190609 ). So now that’s Obama’s fault? The president should have blocked Walmart and electing Mitt will close them? Can this guy be this naive and be a successful businessman? Blaming PBO for local building codes? Something smells about this whole story and it’s not a pleasant smell.
My experience shows that businesses that fight building codes, health and safety codes, is done for selfish reasons many times.

I have a hard time buying into his excuse, more like it’s an attempt to move up a peg in the local, county REC. I may be completely wrong, just having a hard time believing he is this naive and is buying into this and selling it to his employees.

Kalima
Admin

Thought you might find this story I posted on this morning’s MB interesting Murph. Looks like Romninny is in the thick of it this election. Noise from the top goes to the heart of the problem in your post.

—-

Mitt Romney’s advice to business leaders on employee voting – it’s legal

Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, a company telling its workers how to vote is perfectly within the law. But should it be?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/oct/18/mitt-romney-business-leaders-employee-voting

glenn
Member
glenn

Murph,

Thanks for posting this. This seems to be a growing trend among business owners. To me, it’s reminiscent of the old song, “I Owe My Soul to the Company Store.” In my opinion, business owners are overstepping their boundaries, as well as being uninformed. The only thing I will give republicans/tpartiers credit for is being able to spout lies with absolutely no basis in fact, and get people to believe those lies. It absolutely astounds me that they continue to get away with this.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that, although corporate profits are at an all-time high and the stock market is way up from 2008, business owners keep wanting more. How in the world did businesses survive before this presidency? In one part of this thread, you talked about how the owner wanted to expand, but couldn’t because of the expenses associated with building codes. Does this owner truly think that President Obama is responsible for these codes?

In addition between union busting and minimum wage jobs, just who do business owners think are going to buy their products/services if the middle class has no “disposable income”?

Anyway, just wanted to add in my “two cents worth” to encourage you to keep trying to inform people as best as you can. Good luck to you.

KQµårk 死神
Member

This goes along with my theory that business which is run by mostly conservatives have done what they could to collude with GOPTEA obstructionism all along by keeping hiring at a minimum. They have become so hateful of the president that they are no overtly saying what their real intentions are. This election is going to be close enough and I already here people using the most idiotic logic ever to vote for Romney but face it much of it has to do with people thinking Romney just looks the part of being president better than Obama.

choicelady
Member

Murph and anyone encountering this – make your own flyer with references. Give it to everyone in the store who works there AND the owner.

These things cannot go unchallenged.

Nirek
Member

If I worked for the store and was told who to vote for I would vote the opposite out of principal!

kesmarn
Admin

I wish you all the best, Murph, in trying to enlighten this grocery store owner and educate the employees he’s trying (unethically) to influence. There are so many people like him; and — amazingly — so many of them really are “nice” guys (at least nice to people they approve of).

More and more, though, I’m beginning to realize how incredibly difficult it is to break through their thick shell of denial. The only thing I can compare it to is trying to influence a person who is infatuated with an abusive partner. Extremely difficult, if you’ve ever tried it.

They will tell you that you don’t know the “real” person behind the abusive exterior. Or that the person has changed and things are going to get a lot better “real soon.”

They’ll get angry at you for trying to wise them up. “You just wish you had what we have!” “You’re envious!”

Even if you showed them video tape of the abuser making cruel remarks about them (47%, anyone?) they’d say you were just trying to cause trouble and the abuser just didn’t express himself very well. That he really does love them.

After a while you just groan and throw up your hands in frustration.

The only problem is, when those people vote, we ALL get to suffer at the hands of the abuser they’re so in love with. Lucky us.

KillgoreTrout
Member

To me, this seems like outright voter intimidation.

bito
Member

KT,certainly not a profile in courage, is it?

KillgoreTrout
Member

Certainly not Bito. I wish people would inform themselves before scaring the crap out of others. Maybe Murph will straighten this guy out with some facts.

kalie
Member
kalie

KT I agree with you wholeheartedly. When were you born?

KillgoreTrout
Member

Hey kalie, I was born in 1954. I’m an old fart.

foodchain
Member
foodchain

KT, nah, late boomer! I’m trying to be a good old wine though

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Hi goleafsgo, those are some pretty important years you have on me!

KillgoreTrout
Member

I think it’s working FC.

foodchain
Member
foodchain

(hug)

SallyT
Member

KT, you are still younger than me. If you are an old fart, I am old gas lost in the wind. 😉

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Sally, I probably have everyone beat–age wise anyway. ’46, damn proud, BUT, younger wouldn’t hurt

bito
Member

Hey goleafsgo, another reason that it’s nice to see you here on PPOV, you do bring the site a bit different and intelligent perspective with your experiences than most of the baby boomers.

goleafsgo
Member
goleafsgo

hi, foodchain. Good to see there are those here that are mature and wise with age and experience…But, I think I have you beat on the age thingy…How about ’38? Good grief! Am I really that old? LOL! Just getting started thanks to political chats like this.
Have a great day!

SallyT
Member

Well, FC, I am from the same decade ’49. Now I think I am still fine wine but I might be turning to vinegar…..but vinegar is a preservative!

KillgoreTrout
Member

Well FC, going by my standards as a young pup, I used to think 30 was old. Boy how naive I was LOL!

KillgoreTrout
Member

Nah, Sally. You are like vintage wine, just getting better with age! 😉

foodchain
Member
foodchain

sally, vinegar is healthy but I’d bet you’re still a damn good wine.
KT, yeah, I grew up thinking I’d be dead before 2000 and people would be living on different planets! It all seemed so far away.

SallyT
Member

Murph, isn’t this a shame that people can be mislead into voting against themselves. Do you have a local small newspaper, like are usually in stands at the groceries stores? If so, perhaps you could get an article in one. I think your idea to wait a few days and then present the information you have gathered to show how the store owner has been mis-informed himself. Not as a challenge to him but to give him more information so he can be more informed himself. Obviously, you and those supporting his store are for his business continuing as it faces off the onset of the big grocery chains coming in or already in your area. He should see that you are not against him, his employees, or his business. You want him to succeed and continue. That should allow him to give some thought to the information you want to share with him. I wish you luck and I have to compliment you again for your hard work in this campaign. Thank you, Murph, for that and so much more.