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Cintas CEO comes under fire for emails

Company-wide message allegedly not politically charged

By Rebecca Bayens
On December 9, 2012

Cintas, one of Xavier University's foremost sponsors, has come under fire concerning this year's presidential election.
A recent email from Cintas CEO Scott Farmer to Cintas
employees has raised some questions about employers' influence on their workers' voting decisions. According to Farmer, the email addressed three issues in this year's election "that have the potential to impact our nation, our company, our communities and of course, each of us individually." These issues are new health care laws,
increasing taxes and over regulation of businesses
such as Cintas. Farmer stated that with new health care laws, Cintas' costs to insure its employees would
increase from $130 million to $188 million. He asked that Cintas "partners" (anyone who has been employed by Cintas for one year is offered stock in the company and is then officially a partner) to consider what this law will also do to businesses smaller than Cintas. "Consider the potential impact that the law could have on the many smaller and/or less fiscally solvent companies that make up our communities," Farmer said. "These businesses are our customers and they employ our friends and family."
Increasing tax rates, according to Farmer, would also affect
Cintas negatively. "Taxes are like any other cost to businesses. Ultimately, they are passed on to customers as higher prices for products and services," Farmer said. "For Cintas specifically, this would mean that our customers ultimately have less money to spend on uniforms, first aid cabinets, floor mats, fire extinguishers or document management services. This obviously leads to less money for Cintas to reinvest in our business and our partners." Farmer's email said that partners should also consider the overregulation of businesses in economically distressing times. "Finally, while some government regulations needed for all businesses," Farmer said, "the current economic uncertainty faced by many of our customers prevents them (and Cintas) from growing in the way we would like." Heather Maley, Cintas' senior manager of corporate communications, claimed in a recent email that Mr. Farmer's email was issue-related and did not endorse any particular party or candidate. "This communication was prompted largely by the fact
that Mr. Farmer is frequently asked by our partners all over
the country what is important to Cintas and how federal regulations and policies impact our company," Maley said.
"The communication was not an attempt to suggest to employees how to vote, but rather it was sent to help partners make an informed decision." "Our partners, like all
Americans who will vote, will consider all of the information
that they have about each candidate and will vote for the
candidate that they think offers them the brightest future for them and America," Maley said.

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