Advocacy group keeping eye on Brown Deer company's threats to cut benefits

CREATED Nov. 7, 2012

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  • Shelley Walcott reports Video by wtmj.com

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BROWN DEER- The owner of Rite Hite made national headlines last month, after he threatened to cut workers' benefits if President Obama received a second term in office.

Since that's happened, a local watchdog group is keeping a close eye on the Brown Deer company. 

This company employs about 1,400 people, and a state investigation is underway, to make they are treated fairly.

Employees at Rite Hite are waiting to see if their boss will make good on an e-mail, suggesting their benefits might be cut, if President Obama was re-elected.

"Only the CEO knows.  He had suggested that he would dump healthcare if Obamacare goes into effect which it now will do," says Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Last month, Rite Hite owner Mike White sent an email to employees, warning they "should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected."

"We just think it was very inappropriate and violated Wisconsin law to literally affect people's free choice in a Democratic election by using a lever like what would happen to my healthcare at work," said Kraig.

A spokesperson for chairman and CEO Mike White said he wouldn't be able to talk about this story today or ever.

Intimidated employees contacted Citizens Action Wisconsin.  The advocacy group filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board.

Meantime, Kraig says they're keeping a close eye on Rite Hite.

"It's very important that we follow the Wisconsin law on the books that doesn't allow coercion.  And there's nothing more important in being an American than the right to make your own free choice in who you vote for," says Kraig.

It's not clear when the GAB will wrap up their investigation.  But they do plan on interviewing employees, especially now that the president has been re-elected.