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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:03 PM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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Employer really pushing for United Way. Why?

I'm all for charity and volunteering and such, but my employer's recent activities confuse me. Can somebody explain all of this?

The company has always encouraged employees to give to the United Way. It goes so far as to donate matching funds equal to 125% of employee contributions. We are supposedly the largest contirbutor in the city. This is all well and good.

However, over the last several years, the requests for donations have become more frequent and shrill, transitioning from a table and thermometer sign in the cafeteria to near daily emailed reminders to give. Lately, things have gotten somewhat...unusual. Apparently several days ago all of the managers (several hundred people) were 'invited' to a presentation given by the CEO and several other upper management types, including the universally feared head of HR. It is not known what was said there, but for the last 2 days the rank and file workers have been getting emails from several layers of managers, including our direct supervisors. The tone of the messages is borderline threatening, with thinly veiled references to a round of layoffs earlier this summer and fairly explicit statements that we are lucky to have jobs and not need charitable help. It is made verpy clear that 'they' know exactly how much everyone has given.

It seems clear that the company really wants us to give. Moreso than in the past. So much so that they are attempting to motivate us with fear. Why do they care so much? What is different now?

The optimistic view is that I'm imagining the threats and our corporate officers are good and noble people, who recognize the greater need for charity in these difficult times. They are merely reminding us to do our bit for society.

The neutral view is that this is just more corporate dick-waving. Our corner office guys want to stick it to their golfing buddies who work for the competition by showing them that they can better motivate the proles. Meanwhile, the company gets a charitable deduction and a nice newspaper photo of the CEO holding a giant cardboard check.

The cynical view is that there is some kind of kickback to our management based on how much is brought in, or that they have friends who work for United Way who receive similar remuneration.
Am I paranoid?
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:06 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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I'd suggest reading this thread, one of my favorites of all time.

Last edited by dalej42; 09-16-2009 at 05:06 PM..
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:22 PM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
I'd suggest reading this thread, one of my favorites of all time.
Post #9 leads me to believe that something about workplace United Way giving induces people to type 'dick' and 'golfing buddy'.

Damn that's freaky, I swear I didn't read that thread before you pointed it out.
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:24 PM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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Companies that make charitable contributions, like private citizens, get to claim it on taxes. I have often wondered if (since it presumabely comes out of your check directly), the business is able to claim the entire amount as their donation?

minor hijack

Would you be working for a large data processing company, formerly owned by Ross Perot, then GM, and now by itself?

/minor hijack
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:27 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Holy shit, we work for the same company. I think I've deleted four e-mails forcing encouraging me to give today, not to mention the "GIVE OR DIE!!!!" flyer that was in my snail mailbox. Enough already.
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:29 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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It's corporate dick-waving. Give to the charities that you personally support, and never mind all the United Way hoopla bullshit (United Way is NOT on my list of acceptable charities - google "United Way Scam" and "United Way Scandal" for more information).
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:34 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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That would drive me absolutely nuts! I consider my charitable choices to be my own business, and I don't need it automatically extracted from my paycheck. I'll give what I want when I want to organizations of my choice.

Fortunately, being a federal employee, while they can encourage me as much as they want to give to CFC, they can't get nasty about it.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:38 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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It's especially insulting for them to be demanding that you GIVE NOW OR ELSE at the same time one is working at a company which permanently cut salaries, eliminated benefits, zeroed out bonuses, and laid off large parts of the company, all within the last year. Of course everything's couched in terms of "Hey, at least you're not living in a trash dumpster, so give now, asshole!"
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:41 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Originally Posted by Furious_Marmot View Post
The tone of the messages is borderline threatening, with thinly veiled references to a round of layoffs earlier this summer and fairly explicit statements that we are lucky to have jobs and not need charitable help. It is made verpy clear that 'they' know exactly how much everyone has given.
The United Way claims to frown upon pressure tactics like this. Maybe it would be worth forwarding some of these emails to them (make sure you do it anonymously, though), and suggesting that they look into it.

Of course, despite their claims to frown on it, i wouldn't be surprised if they really don't give a fuck, because the more pressure the corporate suits put on their employees, the more money UW gets.
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:42 PM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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I volunteered for the combined charities campaign this year. If one defines "volunteer" as someone who was asked by his boss using a phrase without a question mark at the end of it.
I really don't like the United Way. I like some of the charities involved in the United Way conglomerate. I've given to some of them directly. But I really really hate the United Way.

Our goal this year is $500,000 total for around 4,500 people or around $110 per person. That seems a tad high to me but apparently we've reached those numbers for several years running. Problem this year is that we've not only had a hiring freeze, not only a freeze in salaries (i.e. no raises), but a 10% reduction in workforce. So this should be a fun way to boost morale...
United Way's taking an 11% cut on it. So if we reach our goals, we're basically cutting them a check for $55,000.

Oh, and here's the part which simultaneously titilates and disgusts me. The major way in which people can donate is through a straight percentage donation on their paychecks. They can donate anywhere from .5% up to 2% by checking a box on a form I'll be passing out to everyone in my department.
Now, these forms are tailored to the individual employee. Which means that not only do they have the percentage as part of the checked off box, they'll also have the dollar value associated with it. To put that in layman's terms, as of this Friday I will know exactly how much every single person in this department makes. That just seems so wrong I don't know where to begin but damned if I'm going to complain about the information.
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  #11  
Old 09-16-2009, 05:43 PM
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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I doubt there are kickbacks. I worked for a multi-billion dollar company and my managerial performance review form included what percent of my crew were signed up. I passed out the fliers but refused to push it. and it never was actually mentioned during a review.

But the key was just that the big boss founder was on the their committee, roped into sponsoring the charity ball each year, and the first tier below him were suck ups who knew a way to impress him besides doing their main jobs.
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  #12  
Old 09-16-2009, 09:42 PM
Countrypolitan Countrypolitan is offline
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
That would drive me absolutely nuts! I consider my charitable choices to be my own business, and I don't need it automatically extracted from my paycheck. I'll give what I want when I want to organizations of my choice.

Fortunately, being a federal employee, while they can encourage me as much as they want to give to CFC, they can't get nasty about it.
Yeah, I hate the CFC. I give to charities listed in their book, just on my own.

A few years ago, they had a video with signing Federal employees, warbling about how great it was to contribute through the CFC. I hope somebody put it on YouTube, it was hilarious!
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  #13  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:03 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
minor hijack

Would you be working for a large data processing company, formerly owned by Ross Perot, then GM, and now by itself?

/minor hijack
Despite your CIA-level obfuscation, I'm going to guess that you're referring to EDS. If so, you should be aware that it's now owned by Hewlett-Packard.
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  #14  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:03 PM
Runs With Scissors Runs With Scissors is offline
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DOES the United Way offer kickbacks? Prizes for the boss if he gets 100% participation?

We had a superintendent whose financial skills were...well, let's just say that if he'd stayed, he would have run the school district into a financial brick wall at 120 mph. (He no longer works here.)

He was a nut for United Way, but only one year. I always suspected he got something big...like a trip or a car or something.

It's a lot easier for a teacher to say no, so I feel sorry for anyone in corporate, for example. The threats of layoffs are downright scary.
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  #15  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:08 PM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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Despite your CIA-level obfuscation, I'm going to guess that you're referring to EDS. If so, you should be aware that it's now owned by Hewlett-Packard.
Seriously?

Weird.
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  #16  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:09 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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There are no kickbacks. The business cannot deduct what you give.

Other than a nice plaque and bragging rights, there's no reason for it.

However, in the corporate world, that's enough. After all, usually it costs them little and gets them good PR.
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  #17  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:18 PM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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I worked for a company that did this and hated it. Repeated emails, visits at your desk to personally drop off and pick up donation cards, huge banners everywhere, meetings and all of it.

I love my current company. They offer a variety of charitiable giving deductions that you can take advantage of, but there is zero pressure. We receive one email letting us know and there is a website you can go to to make your donation if you choose. No other pressure and I've never even heard a manager mention it.
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  #18  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:27 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
Of course, despite their claims to frown on it, i wouldn't be surprised if they really don't give a fuck, because the more pressure the corporate suits put on their employees, the more money UW gets.
Well as long as you don't run into the Parade of Hope you will be ok

"The toughest of all the charities"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_to_Smoochy
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  #19  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:12 PM
lawoot lawoot is offline
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The agency I work for pushes UW heavily every year. We are also a RECIPIENT of funds from UW. The agency wants us to request that UW give the agency the money.

Screw that. I'm NOT giving my company a donation out of my paycheck.
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  #20  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:22 PM
bri1600bv bri1600bv is offline
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They had a campaign like this in my old company. This was about the time that William Aramony, former CEO of the United Way was revealed to be making a $1M a year salary. Yes, the contributions from wage slaves was making this guy rich.

I took great pleasure in saying "no thanks".

My new company has a page on the intranet where you can donate, but other than that there is no mention of anything like that. No campaign, nothing.
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  #21  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:28 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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It starts with the company heads in look how good my company is because we suported charities. You should use our company because we are so nice.

The fact that a employeer insists that you send the card back in even if you do not want to give is wrong. The United Way only manages where the money goes. They claim that 90% of the money that you give to the United Way goes on to charities. That means that they are charging a 10% handeling fee, that is a waste. If I like the tie you shoe charity and I give $100 through the the united way they will get $90. If I give it direct then they will get the full $100.

I have had some battle with personal, and have come under some attacks because I refused to fill out the united way card.

Giving should be done chearfully and with out being forced to.

I do give to charities that I have some knowledge of and approve the work they are doing.
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  #22  
Old 09-17-2009, 10:05 AM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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I haven't seen such a universal outpouring of distaste since I posted about the time I got drunk and kicked Mother Teresa.

The company is definitely not EDS/HP and unless MeanOldLady is in OK I doubt it's her employer either. Judging from the similarity of stories here and in the other thread, I suppose this is just how they operate everywhere.

Today we got another threat email, this time from the executive VP who is next in line to the CEO. He gets bonus points for implying that some of our laid off former co-workers might benefit from the United Way's help.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:11 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Holy shit, we work for the same company. I think I've deleted four e-mails forcing encouraging me to give today, not to mention the "GIVE OR DIE!!!!" flyer that was in my snail mailbox. Enough already.
My current employer is a bit more of a soft-sell. 20 years back though, when I first started at the job, it was VICIOUS. As in if you didn't pledge, you would get called into a very high-up's office and asked point-blank if this was a stand you really wanted to take. The implication being that they would REMEMBER this, come evaluation / raise / continue-to-be-employed time. It was infuriating.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:32 AM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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My current employer is a bit more of a soft-sell. 20 years back though, when I first started at the job, it was VICIOUS. As in if you didn't pledge, you would get called into a very high-up's office and asked point-blank if this was a stand you really wanted to take. The implication being that they would REMEMBER this, come evaluation / raise / continue-to-be-employed time. It was infuriating.
Wow. Just wow.
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  #25  
Old 09-17-2009, 10:56 AM
PhiloVance PhiloVance is offline
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My experience was similar to Mamma Zappa's; in the last few years however, not even the 'required' attendance at the kick off meeting is required any more. I work for local government and maybe that's the reason, but someone has backed off on the UW pressure lately. I love it.

In the wake of the scandal when the UW head or some bigshot took off with his mistress to Europe a few years ago, a cubicle mate of mine stopped his automatic donation and hasn't been back since.

p.s. I never gave to UW; I have my own charities I give to and there 'one check covers all' does not speak to me.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:09 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is online now
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Yeah, at my first job after college, I worked for a Jewish nonprofit providing job placement and vocational training to recently arrived Soviet refugees. We got pushed to donate not only to United Way, but also to the Jewish United Fund. At the time, I was trying to pay off student loans and living in a roach-infested studio apartment, while making a salary low enough that a) it would have qualified me to receive income-based services from my employer's other programs; and b) the moment most of my clients got their first jobs, they were making at least as much as I was.

Needless to say, for those reasons (and because my mom had once worked for a United Way-funded program and been unemployed for a prolonged period when I was a kid after United Way drastically cut their funding), I was not about to give money to United Way or to JUF.

The HR Director sent me a letter with thinly veiled threats that I had one week to join my colleagues in the team spirit by donating, and the donation could be any amount. Several colleagues suggested that I just tape a nickel to the pledge card and send it back via interoffice mail. But by then it was a matter of principle. I wrote her back that according to the Jewish conception of tsedakah, I considered my charitable activities to be a private matter.

She never bothered me about it again, and when layoffs started shortly thereafter, I started looking for a new job and found one in short order. A nasty unionizing battle followed, and I'm glad I got out of there when I did. The whole United Way campaign was just one symptom of the fucked-up management of that place.

Last edited by Eva Luna; 09-17-2009 at 11:10 AM.. Reason: fixed typo
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  #27  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:11 AM
Grumman Grumman is online now
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Originally Posted by Furious_Marmot View Post
I'm all for charity and volunteering and such, but my employer's recent activities confuse me. Can somebody explain all of this?
Two words: Genestealer cult.

Monitor their conversations for mentions of someone called the "Four-armed emperor". If you hear this phrase, it's time to break out the flamethrowers.
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  #28  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:20 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by Furious_Marmot View Post
Today we got another threat email, this time from the executive VP who is next in line to the CEO. He gets bonus points for implying that some of our laid off former co-workers might benefit from the United Way's help.
How badly did you want to respond and imply that some of your laid off former co-workers might benefit from not being laid off?
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  #29  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:46 AM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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Two words: Genestealer cult.

Monitor their conversations for mentions of someone called the "Four-armed emperor". If you hear this phrase, it's time to break out the flamethrowers.
I think cyclonic torpedos or virus bombs would do it for sure, but I'm too fond of some other parts of the planet.

It's purifying flame at close quarters, then. Just as well, I've always wanted to shout "My craft is death!" in the office. Time to annoint the storm bolter and chainfist.

Last edited by Furious_Marmot; 09-17-2009 at 11:49 AM..
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  #30  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:55 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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My company does this as well. What really sucks is that they've set it up in such a way that it's easy to give, but to NOT give, you have to contact HR and let them know that you aren't. They claim it's got something to do with how the United Way web site works, but I think it's BS.

The whole United Way racket is primarily for PR on corporate stewardship and also allows them to claim that they've given to way more companies (under the United Way umbrella) than they actually have. In other words, because the United Way gives to X, Y and Z foundations, the company can claim on their Web site or marketing materials that they donate to United Way, plus X foundation, Y foundation and Z foundation. So it seems like a convenient way of padding the numbers of charitable organizations they give to without actually having to go to the trouble of giving to them directly.
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  #31  
Old 09-17-2009, 12:41 PM
Gesturing Mildly Gesturing Mildly is offline
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I used to work for a big company that did a large charity thing every fall. My last year there, they asked me to head it up. There was this list of a bunch of really awesome charities. Whatever your pet cause was, it was likely on there. Included were statistics such as how much money went to administrative costs, websites where you could find more info, etc.

Contributions were deducted from your paycheck, and if you didn't specify an organization, it went to United Way.

Employees in my department had never seen the list before, and had always assumed it was just a United Way drive. I thought it would be fun to have a week of different fundraising events, each day focusing on one or two different charities, with the payroll deduction forms available if anyone saw anything that moved them.

One higher-up in my department FREAKED. OUT. She'd run the program in the past, and had never mentioned the other charities. She called me into her office every day and got more and more obstinate and threatening. She finally just came out and said that she didn't think any of "our" money should go to starving kids in Africa when people were in need here in our community. Ok, whatever. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I don't find it terribly objectionable. Then it comes out that her daughter works for UW and is about to be let go.

Last edited by Gesturing Mildly; 09-17-2009 at 12:42 PM..
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  #32  
Old 09-17-2009, 12:44 PM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Wow... I know the job market is tough and people are understandably hesitant to make any waves. But if this is as bad as it sounds I don't know how long I'd be able to stand for it.

My company has a confidential and anonymous line for reporting ethics violations and the like. You might want to look into whether you have an option like that. Ours is run by a third party outside of our own HR department, which would be a good thing in your case, since it sounds like your HR is part of the problem.

IMO, you are dealing with a Hostile Work Environment, and I hope you're able to do something about it.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:51 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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When companies push me I just lie and say "Oh but I gave money already." They come back "you should've done it through us," and I say "Oh OK I'll remember for next time, too bad I already gave money."

Or I say

"Oh but I gave all my money to the "heart fund." My mother is dying of heart disease, perhaps we could give money to that instead, that way you'll actually be helping your employees."

Both of these little "tricks" work like a charm to get employers to shut up and stop badgering.

One could also fall back on religious beliefs as there are plenty of biblical versus to justify the giving of charities as an act of itself and not to be publicized. Thus you don't give to charities that do so, or I give all my money to my church that redistributes it according to my beliefs.
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  #34  
Old 09-17-2009, 12:51 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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We're in the middle of our campaign drive now, with high-pressure tactics from all levels of management. But unlike at my previous employers, we have three options for our contributions:
1- our company's Employee Assistance Fund, which helps employees of our company if their house burns down or they get terminal cancer or something;
2 - our company's Literacy Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to literacy programs, especially for adults; or
3 - the United Way

I split my contribution between 1 and 2.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:53 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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IMO, you are dealing with a Hostile Work Environment, and I hope you're able to do something about it.
That would not be a hostile working environment. I have worked in H/R before and that isn't how it's defined.

A hostile working environment is not the same as an UNPLEASENT working environment.

A hostile working environment is one that would upset an "average" person so much that this would make him incapable of completing his working requirments accordingly.

It would be easy to show that this employee was doing his job and doing it well. So obviously he is capable of doing his job, thus it's not a hostile environment, it is simply an UNPLEASENT working environment.

The two are not the same thing
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:05 PM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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That would not be a hostile working environment. I have worked in H/R before and that isn't how it's defined.

A hostile working environment is not the same as an UNPLEASENT working environment.

A hostile working environment is one that would upset an "average" person so much that this would make him incapable of completing his working requirments accordingly.

It would be easy to show that this employee was doing his job and doing it well. So obviously he is capable of doing his job, thus it's not a hostile environment, it is simply an UNPLEASENT working environment.

The two are not the same thing
However you'd like to define it, Furious Marmot's employers seem to be implying that one's future employment status is directly related to actions not having anything to do with one's job performance. Substitute sexual favors for charitable contributions and you've got big problems here.

If that isn't hostile, it sounds at least unethical to me.
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  #37  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:12 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
My current employer is a bit more of a soft-sell. 20 years back though, when I first started at the job, it was VICIOUS. As in if you didn't pledge, you would get called into a very high-up's office and asked point-blank if this was a stand you really wanted to take. The implication being that they would REMEMBER this, come evaluation / raise / continue-to-be-employed time. It was infuriating.
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Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
The HR Director sent me a letter with thinly veiled threats that I had one week to join my colleagues in the team spirit by donating, and the donation could be any amount. Several colleagues suggested that I just tape a nickel to the pledge card and send it back via interoffice mail. But by then it was a matter of principle. I wrote her back that according to the Jewish conception of tsedakah, I considered my charitable activities to be a private matter.
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Originally Posted by overlyverbose View Post
My company does this as well. What really sucks is that they've set it up in such a way that it's easy to give, but to NOT give, you have to contact HR and let them know that you aren't. They claim it's got something to do with how the United Way web site works, but I think it's BS.
Holy gods!

The company I work for doesn't strong arm us quite so severely, but they are pretty fucking annoying. We are required to attend some big production at the beginning of "GIVE OR HAVE YOUR VILLAGE BURNED DOWN!" season, which is a series of slides about how necessary it is to give, and why we're a super awesome charitable organization, followed up by what I presume is supposed to be a comical play (written and acted out poorly by the People In Charge) about how necessary it is to give, and why we're a super awesome charitable organization.

It all goes downhill after that. Blitzkrieg e-mail "reminders" laden with puns, signs plastered about the work place, a sadist-designed break room with glitter on the tables, "GIVE!!!!!" fliers on the fridge. I don't want to have to look at that crap when I'm trying to grab my sandwich. And who put glitter on the tables? Is that supposed to make me want to donate to charity? Yes, I can think of nothing more delightful while eating than having ground up pieces of glass near my food. I'm still amused by the little mailer about it in my snail mailbox yesterday. I thought we were supposed to be some Super Awesome Green Company. Why did they print out fliers for that? The receptionist also gives announcements over the PA system reminding us about what fundraising activity is going on, and that it's always a good time to give.
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  #38  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:47 PM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
However you'd like to define it, Furious Marmot's employers seem to be implying that one's future employment status is directly related to actions not having anything to do with one's job performance. Substitute sexual favors for charitable contributions and you've got big problems here.

If that isn't hostile, it sounds at least unethical to me.
The rub is that the threats are implicit and contextual: "The CEO and [terrifying HR head] took time from their busy days to discuss this with me...", "I'm so disappointed about the particiation rate...", "We are all so fortunate to have jobs...", "In these hard times many people are out of work right here in OKC...", "Maybe you have friends who have been helped by UW...", "Good community relations help the financial health of our company...".

All of these kinds of statements are likely objectively true and if pressed on it, management could simply say that people were being paranoid. There is no quid pro quo in any of it. The fact that it comes from a corporate officer who could destroy your life with a single word is what makes it sound bad.

I'd call it unpleasant and not nice but not unlawful. It seems carefully scripted to run up to the line, but never over. Very similar to what they do with PAC donations.
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  #39  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:50 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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What sort of employers are these? I've never worked anywhere where it was even suggested that the employees give to Charity X, let alone practically forced at gunpoint to do so.
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  #40  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:55 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
What sort of employers are these? I've never worked anywhere where it was even suggested that the employees give to Charity X, let alone practically forced at gunpoint to do so.
Large, faceless employers who feed on people's souls in real life, but then force everyone to give all their money away so the company can suck its own dick about how much it supports the community.
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  #41  
Old 09-17-2009, 02:08 PM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Originally Posted by Furious_Marmot View Post
The rub is that the threats are implicit and contextual: "The CEO and [terrifying HR head] took time from their busy days to discuss this with me...", "I'm so disappointed about the particiation rate...", "We are all so fortunate to have jobs...", "In these hard times many people are out of work right here in OKC...", "Maybe you have friends who have been helped by UW...", "Good community relations help the financial health of our company...".

All of these kinds of statements are likely objectively true and if pressed on it, management could simply say that people were being paranoid. There is no quid pro quo in any of it. The fact that it comes from a corporate officer who could destroy your life with a single word is what makes it sound bad.

I'd call it unpleasant and not nice but not unlawful. It seems carefully scripted to run up to the line, but never over. Very similar to what they do with PAC donations.
My advice then would have to be:
Smile and nod at the intimidation meetings, then quietly slide the quasi-threatening e-mails into a saved folder.
If a boss approaches you specifically and asks why you haven't contributed, your proper response is "none of your business," but of course phrased more like "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable discussing my personal finances."

Then meticulously document any and all future contact on the subject, just in case something does happen to you.

Short of giving in and contributing (which I wouldn't do just on principle, but then I can be a stubborn bastard), that's the best I got.

Last edited by Wheelz; 09-17-2009 at 02:11 PM..
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  #42  
Old 09-17-2009, 02:22 PM
Furious_Marmot Furious_Marmot is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
What sort of employers are these? I've never worked anywhere where it was even suggested that the employees give to Charity X, let alone practically forced at gunpoint to do so.
Some companies, while seemingly perfectly normal from the outside, have a strange fixation on controlling the employees lives both inside and outside of the workplace. Is it a peculiarity of a particular school of management? The result over overpromoting a bunch of busybodies? Megalomania brought on by an abundance of yes-men? Hard to say.

Nevertheless, some employers, great and small, want to influence 'their people' in what they consider to be positive ways. Where you live, your after work hangouts, your choice of friends, your kids school, your car insurance company, your doctors, your vacation destination. Sometimes everything.
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  #43  
Old 09-17-2009, 02:39 PM
badbadrubberpiggy badbadrubberpiggy is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
What sort of employers are these? I've never worked anywhere where it was even suggested that the employees give to Charity X, let alone practically forced at gunpoint to do so.
Seriously. I work for a non-profit*, and our higher-ups would be pissed if we tried to strong-arm people (employees or not) into giving. We do have UW giving this time of year, but it's extremely low-key, if it wasn't for the single e-mail saying "hey, we're doing this right now!", and the occassional sign, I wouldn't even know about it.


*One the UW doesn't donate to.
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  #44  
Old 09-17-2009, 02:46 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
The United Way claims to frown upon pressure tactics like this. Maybe it would be worth forwarding some of these emails to them (make sure you do it anonymously, though), and suggesting that they look into it.

Of course, despite their claims to frown on it, i wouldn't be surprised if they really don't give a fuck, because the more pressure the corporate suits put on their employees, the more money UW gets.
First, email HR and tell then that you are VERY uncomfortable at the tone of thr corporate emails to donate, and explain that you have your own charities. If you get more emails, forward the whole mess to United Way and the Labor Board for your state, and whichever state department licenses charities and CC human resources on it.

I had one HR try leaning on me, telling me I didnt know what UW did, and how wonderful they were and I NEEDED to donate ... so I tossed down the fact that my dad had been on the board of directors for them for his locality for years and I more than knew about them and to stop leaning on me or I would go to the state labor board about it ... it stopped instantly.
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  #45  
Old 09-17-2009, 03:10 PM
gurujulp gurujulp is offline
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We have a different type of Combined Charities where we can select from a list or we can get the Tax Id for our own charity and it will be deducted from our check.

A year after I made my donation to a charity I got the information for (we did get an email from the City Manager asking us to donate at least a dollar for percentage of participation) I got a call from the organization that sent out the checks to the specific charity, stating that none of the checks had been cashed.

I called the charity, and they stated that on the back of the checks was a statement that by endorsing and depositing the checks they swore that they supported the Patriot Act and all the BS that entails. So they weren't cashing them.

I didn't blame them.

The next time the job asked me to pony up, I wrote that up and stapled it to the form and sent it over. As the City Council of my illustrious city employer has condemned the Patriot act, I figured it would be accepted well. They walked back across the street and told me they didn't care about why I didn't want to, would I please just sign the form that I didn't want to participate.

They knew I was a little strange already, but that gave them another dose.
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  #46  
Old 09-17-2009, 03:19 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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Years ago I worked for a place that was UW crazy. I blew off the meeting so they didn't get a card filled out from me. They put new cards in my mail box and on my desk. They sent me numerous emails and voice mails. They even called the people who sat next to me to "remind" me to fill out the form. Finally, the person running the UW campaign showed up at my desk and stood there intending not to leave until I filled out the form. I told her that we would have to continue this conversation with the head of HR. That got her to back down.
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  #47  
Old 09-17-2009, 10:00 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
First, email HR and tell then that you are VERY uncomfortable at the tone of thr corporate emails to donate, and explain that you have your own charities. If you get more emails, forward the whole mess to United Way and the Labor Board for your state, and whichever state department licenses charities and CC human resources on it.

.
Don't do this. You'll be labeled as "not a team player". In many "at will" states they can simply let you go.
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  #48  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:46 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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All at-will states.

However, if you've got evidence that you've been coerced into donating in writing- such as the e-mails described above- you've got a pretty good basis for a wrongful termination suit.
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  #49  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:55 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
I'd suggest reading this thread, one of my favorites of all time.
I'm really flattered as this was my thread. But the TRUE BELIEVER turned it from the humdrum to the sublime.

And again this year we're in the middle of the UW campaign. And they've gotten even smarter. Now they've convinced the company to hold a huge raffle. A bunch of employees in each department go out and buy stuff; each department bundles the stuff into "gift baskets", and they raffle off the gift baskets -- to the same employees by and large.

It is a HUGE waste of time and money and effort. It has got to be the most inefficient way of raising money ever conceived of. Some of these baskets have nearly a thousand dollars worth of stuff in them, and they will probably sell less than 500 dollars worth of tickets for any given basket. Not to mention the very large amount of on-the-clock emplyee time for all the logistics, and then the UW takes its nearly 20% cut...

If the company really wanted to make a difference in the community, they could simply offer a match of employee donations to any charity of their choice, upon being presented evidence of the amount the employee donated. But no, they have to enter the corporate dick measuring contest.

Just pisses me off to no end...
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  #50  
Old 09-18-2009, 02:01 AM
hajario hajario is offline
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
If the company really wanted to make a difference in the community, they could simply offer a match of employee donations to any charity of their choice, upon being presented evidence of the amount the employee donated. But no, they have to enter the corporate dick measuring contest..
This is exactly what they do at my company. I don't think that any of it goes to the United Way although it could.
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