Wisconsin-based Menards is the nation’s third largest home improvement chain and one of the most anti-labor companies in America. Managers have been reportedly threatened with huge pay cuts if their workers began to organize, applicants turned away because they were once union box boys.
Now Menards is engaged in the latest attempt by the right wing to convince low-wage workers to vote against their own interests — employee indoctrination.
According to a new exposé by AlterNet’s Adele M. Stan, employees are being offered the “chance” to participate in a voluntary at-home “civics” course that features materials that appear to be developed by a for-profit venture Prosperity 101, which has apparently been caught up in an FBI investigation. Focusing on right-wing educational seminars, Prosperity 101 is run by “Koch-linked political operatives” Linda Hansen and Mark Block — whom you might remember from this insane Herman Cain ad.
Menards employees can take the course — along with several others that are actually related to their jobs — to win recognition from their bosses. The materials contain many of the familiar right-wing tropes including “makers not takers” and attack on government spending as “job killing.”
Couldn’t Menards just give their employees awards for watching Fox News?
The worst part about the program is the veiled implication that your job depends on your acceptance of right-wing dogma. The Koch brothers and several other right-wing companies have to some degree threatened their employees’ jobs if Obama wins. And this is probably legal in most of the country, according to legal experts.
The rhetoric and strategy of simulating a grassroots movement from the top down is the exact method in which the Koch-funded “social welfare nonprofit” Americans For Prosperity fed the Tea Party.
When Herman Cain was shilling for Prosperity 101, he called the program the right’s “answer to ACORN”– the left-wing boogeyman that used to register voters and provide services for poor people and minorities before a right-wing propaganda assault forced it to shut down.
As demographics threaten the existence of the Republican Party, they’ve pursued efforts to limit the ability to vote. Now they’re using their power as employers to compel workers to vote Republican. Asking them to change their policies to actually interest new voters is apparently too much to ask.