Yes, Boss

New York Life Turns Employees Into Lobbyists for China Trade

But the perceived pressure to back an employer's political agenda can be intense. Marsha Woodbury, an ethicist with the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, says technology has changed the nature of workplace propaganda. If you hang a campaign sign over the watercooler, she says, you can't know who votes your way. When you ask people to call a toll-free number and give their names, you can. "That just sounds incredible to me, especially for something political," says Woodbury, who also works as a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "With your job, you would hope that would be a zone where religion and all that stuff would be out of it."

What's more, Woodbury says, the typical guidelines for using company e-mail focus only on what employees may and may not do—everything from swapping dirty jokes to sending personal notes—with no mention of whether the bosses are allowed to spam their own underlings.

NY Life to employees: "I am asking you once again to take action to help pass this very important trade bill."
illustration by Limbert Fabian
NY Life to employees: "I am asking you once again to take action to help pass this very important trade bill."

That point isn't lost on the New York Life staffer who talked to the Voice. "They were targeting employees," says the insider. "I just thought that was unfair."

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