by James McNair
Posted In: News
at 08:56 AM | Permalink
Voting memo suggests Obama policies bad for company, workers
It’s no secret that Cintas Corp. CEO Scott Farmer showers
part of his wealth on Republican political candidates. Over the years,
he has thrown money at George W. Bush, Rob Portman and Steve Chabot.
This year, he has given $52,500 to the Mitt Romney campaign. His wife
Mary has ponied up $22,500.
But votes, not money, win elections, and the Farmers’ two
meager votes don’t amount to much. So what better way to help the Romney
effort than to muster the votes of the Cintas-employed masses, as Scott
Farmer did in an Oct. 19 letter e-mailed to his 30,000 or so workers,
or “partners” as he likes to call them.
Farmer, the son of Cintas founder Richard Farmer, takes
issue with Obamacare, the “potential of government to increase current
tax rates” and what he considers business-impeding “over-regulation” by
federal agencies. All three are straight from the Romney playbook.
Farmer, though, insists that the company doesn’t “endorse one candidate
over another.” Cintas spokeswoman Heather Maley said the letter was sent
to help employees “make an informed decision.”
“In today’s political climate, the issues can certainly be
confusing and even overwhelming,” Maley said in a statement. “We
believe our partners want to be informed about issues that affect our
company and are interested to know where the company stands on these
One would think that after Cintas’ shabby treatment at the
hands of the Bush administration, Farmer would welcome a second Obama
term. In 2008, Cintas agreed to pay a $2.8 million fine to settle
federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration charges that it
was willfully negligent in the death of a Cintas worker who fell into an
industrial dryer while clearing a tangle of wet laundry at a company
plant in Tulsa, Okla. In 2005, Cintas had to fend off U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission claims that it was biased against
women in filling sales jobs. The claims were dismissed in court. And in
2004, the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service investigated
whether Cintas tacked millions of dollars in “environmental fees” on
uniforms, towels and mats it cleaned for the postal service under a
10-year, $200 million contract. Cintas halted the practice.
One person who doesn’t buy into Cintas’ professed
ambivalence about its workers’ voting choices is Caleb Faux, executive
director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Cintas is based in
Mason, and many of its workers live and vote in Hamilton County. He sees
the Farmer letter as a brazen reminder to workers of the source of
“I think that it’s disgraceful that any employer would use
the power implicit in the employer-employee relationship to coerce
people while they are making their voting decisions,” Faux said.