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By aphasia On 04/06/04  

Today I was in one of the most astounding employee meetings of all time (at least my time).

I work in a wine and liquor distributorship. Last week we received a message that there would be a P.A.C. meeting today, and at the meeting they would tell us what a P.A.C. meeting is.

We get in there, and they hand us all these forms to fill out to have money withheld from our paycheck with no explanation on the form.

The President gives a little Powerpoint slide show about P.A.C. which means "Political Action Committee". He then explained how he wants us to donate $ or have $ withheld from our paychecks for them to give to the political party or candidates of their choice. And we are "strongly encouraged" to participate.

Apparently Washington state has begun to move on getting rid of the "three tier" system in liquor distribution (basically not making a distributorship necessary) and he wants to make sure that doesn't happen in Texas. Also, schools are falling short on funds and will start looking towards taxing liquor and wine more.

I wouldn't mind if we had a meeting to discuss these issues. BUT TO BE GIVEN FORMS TO WITHHOLD MONEY FROM OUR PAYCHECKS FOR THEM TO DECIDE WHO TO LOBBY?????? HELL, NO. I'm not giving any f ing money to Rick Perry!!!!

Of course people were intimidated, as he asked everyone to fill out their forms and pass them to the front (where it would be quite visible who turned in a form and who didn't). I folded up my form and kept it.

Now I could see if they had a meeting and explained the situation and gave people a list of addresses of politicians to call or lobby and donate to if they wanted. But to give us a form to automatically have money removed from our paychecks?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?

I wonder if I'll have negative remarks put into my personnel folder.

I think this borders on illegal and is highly coercive. Am I overreacting?

By denimqueen On 04/06/04  

You are not over-reacting at all. That is absolutely dispicable. They are using intimidation and a captive audience to try to coerce (sp?) employees to donate money, for some thing that isn't their choice! I think it borders on illegal as well, and wouldn't be surprised if it was! Burn the form!

By tattooedbunny On 04/07/04  

you are not over reacting at all! my god i would be pissed if my job tried to pull something like this. i agree this is probably illegal and if it isn't it definatly should be!

By son_sue On 04/07/04  

Dude, you are not overreacting. My first response when I read about your situation was, "that's an obnoxiously bullying approach." And seems illegal to me too. The place where I work at "strongly encourages" us to withhold money or give a one time donation to United Way, and if you don't respond at all, the managers like to keep emailing you "friendly reminders". It's kinda like your situation, but I don't think it's as severe as your situation. That was a pretty shady meeting. It's obnoxious; and it's not like people don't want to get involved with charity or social issues like the one presented to you, we just don't want to feel bullied into it. I think it's a breach of personal privacy and security.

By nicegirl512 On 04/07/04  

If this is for a federal PAC, this is totally illegal. This is from an advisory opinion by the FEC (Federal Election Commission):

The Act and regulations also permit two written contribution solicitations in a calendar year to other [non-executive] employees. 2 U.S.C. 441b(b)(4)(B); 11 CFR 114.6(a). The corporation, however, must make such written contribution solicitations by mailing them to an employee's residence and must use a custodial arrangement that ensures the anonymity of those wishing to contribute less than $50 in any single contribution, or those not wishing to contribute at all. 11 CFR 114.6(c) and (d). See also Advisory Opinions 1991-28 and 1990-25.

FEC Advisory Opinion No. 1994-7

I am not familiar enough with election law to know if the rules on PAC contribution are different for state issues. A quick search of the Texas Code on Lexis does not turn up a law one way or the other. However, I am *sure* that this is totally illegal. You can call the FEC anonymously to discuss this situation at the toll free number here

Let me know how this comes out! I'm very interested.

By aphasia On 04/07/04  

Thank you nicegirl!!!!
I'll check this all out when I get home. It was all I could think about last night and I got angrier and angrier. I did some random googling of "workplace political coercion", but found nothing. I'll let you know what happens.

By bonnell99 On 04/07/04  

try workplace PAC, and see what that turns up. Also, you might want to consult an attorney to see if this is indeed illegal in your state.

By researchasaurus On 04/07/04  

That is seriously fishy.

I don't know anything about the laws but a few ideas came to mind, Labor Commission and the like, on the state level:

It looks like at that last one you might be able to get a bit of free advice.

Make sure you DOCUMENT everything--save copies and write down any kinds of communication you get (date/time of phone call and subject, etc.) in case it does turn into a real legal situation.

Good luck!

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