In recent weeks, a flurry of news coverage has focused on an undemocratic trend in workplaces around the country: employers telling their workers which politicians they should vote for. CEOs for Murray Energy, Koch Industries, ASG Software and Westgate Resorts have pressured their employees to vote for particular political candidates, like Mitt Romney.
The Nation has found that the phenomenon appears far more wide-ranging than previously known. Businesses throughout Washington State, along with a loose network of hundreds of coal and mining companies, are preparing to urge employees to vote for specific political candidates. Meanwhile, lobbyists in Washington are working furiously to encourage more corporations to adopt these tactics.
One of the lesser-known consequences of the Citizens United decision is how corporations gained the power to explicitly recommend candidates to their rank-and-file workers. Before, corporations were limited to mostly encouraging civic participation. Now, managers can make political appeals for a candidate in the workplace.
This November, corporations are testing their new Supreme Court–granted rights for the first time in a presidential election. The coal industry is a good place to observe this shifting landscape.
Since 2004, lobbyists for the coal and mining industry have promoted something called “Mine the Vote,” an effort to organize employees and get them to the polls.