Menards, the third-largest home improvement chain in the United States, encourages its employees to take a so-called "economics" course online that contains staunchly anti-Obama content and, while it doesn't endorse Mitt Romney, it talks in positive terms of policies similar to those the Republican presidential candidate has proposed.
The chain offers its employees a series of courses that allow them to learn more about the products the company sells. Among the courses offered is a so-called "Civics 101: The National Self Governing Will In-Home Training." The course text is heavily based upon the works of people like Adam Smith and contains material written by former presidential candidate Herman Cain and Club for Growth founder Stephen Moore. The text is drawn heavily from a book called Prosperity 101, which was distributed by Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing organization chaired by David Koch and run along with his brother Charles, the owners of Koch Industries and the funders of much of the activity in recent years related to the tea party. The text is little more than a full treatise on right-wing economic theories, many of which have been repeatedly debunked by nonpartisan economists.
While Menards employees are not required to take the course, those who do and pass the final test are recognized in internal company newsletters and given a certificate of completion. Employers make it obvious that they are tracking who completes the course and who doesn't, and employees seeking promotions or raises almost certainly feel that they must take the course if they want to advance within the company.
Menards is known for being staunchly anti-union:
Menards, as we reported last year, is notorious not just as a polluter, but as a virulently anti-labor company. One former manager told Milwaukee magazine reporter Mary van de Kamp Nohl that he wasn’t allowed to hire two job candidates because, while in high school, they had worked as baggers in a union-organized grocery store. Menards threatened store managers with a 60% pay cut, according to a 2003 Forbes article, if a union managed to get a foothold in a Menards store on that manager’s watch.
Read more of the AFL-CIO's coverage on employers telling their employees how to vote: "Mitt Romney Encouraged Companies to Tell Their Workers How to Vote."