Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bumpersticker Firing 

At least this story has a happy ending.

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

She went to [Geddes'] office, knocked on the door and entered on his orders.

"Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

Gobbell said [Geddes] told her to "get out of here."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, "I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry," Gobbell said.

"I took off my gloves and threw them in the garbage and left," Gobbell said.

The story was picked up by Daily Kos, a political Web log, and spread quickly around the Web. By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight. Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."

People being told how to vote by their employer happens everywhere. In 2000, I had worked in Northeastern Pennsylvania on a Congressional race. While there, I was told by many people that that they were threatened to be fired, if they didn't vote for the Republican candidates. I even heard stories of husbands going into the voting booth with their wives, to make sure they voted Republican. We need more stories of people being fired because of their political leanings to come out, in order to stop it.


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