If you received an email from employer David Siegel, you might want to read this post. You may have legal standing to file a claim against him. On Monday October 8, 2012 employer David Siegel of Westgate Resorts supposedly sent out the following email to upwards of 7,000 of his employees:
Subject: Message from David Siegel
Date:Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:58:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: [David Siegel]
To: [All employees]
To All My Valued Employees,
As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.The current administration and members of the press have perpetuated an environment that casts employers against employees. They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the “1%” and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I’m building. I’m sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don’t see or hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved.
I started this company over 42 years ago. At that time, I lived in a very modest home. I converted my garage into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. We didn’t eat in fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations because every dollar I made went back into this company. I drove an old used car, and often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, many of my friends got regular jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a nice income, and they spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into this business —-with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford to buy whatever I wanted. Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.
Just think about this – most of you arrive at work in the morning and leave that afternoon and the rest of your time is yours to do as you please. But not me- there is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat, live, and breathe this company every minute of the day, every day of the week. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. I know many of you work hard and do a great job, but I’m the one who has to sign every check, pay every expense, and make sure that this company continues to succeed. Unfortunately, what most people see is the nice house and the lavish lifestyle. What the press certainly does not want you to see, is the true story of the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the costs of running a business have gotten out of control, and let me tell you why: We are being taxed to death and the government thinks we don’t pay enough. We pay state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes and unemployment taxes. I even have to hire an entire department to manage all these taxes. The question I have is this: Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?
Obviously, our present government believes that taking my money is the right economic stimulus for this country. The fact is, if I deducted 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, that’s what happens to me.
Here is what most people don’t understand and the press and our Government has chosen to ignore – to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Instead of raising my taxes and depositing that money into the Washington black-hole, let me spend it on growing the company, hire more employees, and generate substantial economic growth. My employees will enjoy the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But that is not what our current Government wants you to believe. They want you to believe that it somehow makes sense to take more from those who create wealth and give it to those who do not, and somehow our economy will improve. They don’t want you to know that the “1%”, as they like to label us, pay more than 31% of all the taxes in this country. Thomas Jefferson, the author of our great Constitution, once said, “democracy” will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate business, not kill it. However, the power brokers in Washington believe redistributing wealth is the essential driver of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change they want.
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the “1 percenters” are bad, I’m telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the “1%”; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.
You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
Signed, your boss,
In California, we do not allow these practices of political coercion by employers. If Mr. Siegel had sent the email in California he would have been in direct violation of Labor Code Section 1102 which clearly states, “no employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity”.
Westgate Resorts are located in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Their main headquarters are located in Florida who also, like California, has a statute against voter intimidation. In Florida, any “person may not directly or indirectly use or threaten to use force, violence, or intimidation or any tactic of coercion or intimidation to induce or compel an individual to: … (b)Vote or refrain from voting for any particular individual or ballot measure” according to Florida Electors and Elections Code: Violations; Penalties Chapter 104 section 104.0615. I think it is clear from the email that Mr. Siegel is attempting to use coercion, by the threat of job loss, which some may argue is a violent act, to intimidate his employees from voting for President Obama in the 2012 elections.
In 2000, Siegel took credit for personally using legal and illegal means to secure President Bush Jr. the Presidential election. He even went as far as including every negative article regarding Gore’s candidacy he could find in with his employees checks. He had his company conduct some 80,000 robocalls. Furthermore, he ensured that all of his employees who were likely to vote for Bush made it to the polls. After the election results came in, Siegel took a survey of his employees and concluded that around 1,000 employees went to the polls and votes for Bush who would have otherwise not even turned out. In the historic election Bush won by a record 527 votes, about half of the number of votes Siegel argues he is personally responsible for. This election we has witnessed an immense increase in political “speech”. Not only can Westgate Resorts contribute about as much as it wants to the Romney Campaign, but now it’s CEO is taking it so much further. While Siegel argues that his actions are purely informative oriented, his actions speak otherwise. Furthermore, in his latest reality tv documentary The Queen of Versailles, his wife reportedly spends over a million dollars a year on shopping sprees. Looks like Siegel has plenty of money to spend on pointless bull *&^% instead of his employees regardless of the election outcome. What is he really worried about? Paying his employees more money and ensuring they have adequate health insurance. Siegel’s email is more reveling than he thought. It clearly demonstrates that he (a) doesn’t care about the welfare of his employees, and (b) is too greedy to provide them with an option to have employer based healthcare insurance, he’d rather fire them. So in a last ditch effort, Siegel chooses to brainwash and coerce his employees into *&^%ing themselves by voting for Romney so that he can maintain his extravagant lifestyle at their expense. P.S. did I mention how much money his family, himself and his Westgate Resorts have contributed to Romney’s campaign and superPACS that contribute to Romney? Guess he isn’t doing as bad as he claims to have been doing during the first term of President Obama.
In related news, the Koch Brothers also sent pro-Romney materials to some 50,000 of their Georgia Pacific employees on October 1st. Included within the mailer was a cover letter, an early voting pamphlet, an anti-Obama editorial written by CEO Charles Koch, and a pro-Romney editorial written by Ex. VP David Koch. Koch Industry also has a tie to former President Bush Jr., after he was elected the U.S. Justice Department dropped some 88 pending charges against Koch Industries.
The point here is that, while the work sphere is political, politics should stay out of employer-employee relationships due to the nature of power dynamics within the relationship. If employers are not only going to contribute large portions of the earnings of the workers hard labor through super PACs, but also tell them how to personally vote, they have gone too far. These actions do constitute political coercion, inciting violence upon their employees in the absence of their concurrence. Not to mention that most employees don’t even realize that a portion of the companies profits, which they worked hard to earn, are sent to PACs that then fund political campaigns regardless of their employees’ personal political affiliations. These practices are eating away at what little is left of the integrity of our election system. It is bad enough that a few make billions of dollars off of hard working Americans labor, now they insist on not only utilizing the proceeds against us, but telling us how to exercise our constitutional right to vote as we choose. TOO FAR! We must restore the integrity of our election system and stand up and say no to corporate election funding, say no to Citizen’s United, and say NO to Employers coercing their employees to vote a particular way or face unemployment. If you received one of these emails, you can legally say enough and file a suit against Siegel or Koch.