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Consumer Watchdog Releases Coercive Lobbying E-Mail to Employees of United Health Group, Calls It 'Political Harassment' of Workers
Date:12/10/2009

Message demands that workers "confirm with your supervisor" that they will attend online meeting with top corporate lobbyist

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An e-mail sent Wednesday to employees of United Health Group uses highly coercive language to urge workers to attend a web presentation by the company's top lobbyist, said Consumer Watchdog. The e-mail tells employees to "confirm your ability to attend with your supervisor." (See the full letter below).

"This demand that workers attend a virtual meeting about company lobbying messages, on company time, is political harassment," says Judy Dugan, research director for Consumer Watchdog. "A later statement in the e-mail that participation is voluntary is a joke, after telling employees to 'confirm' participation with a supervisor."

The 30-minute "Webinar," plus time spent sending company-written letters or company-written phone messages to Congress, means every employee involved is likely to use an hour of work time, with the cost coming out of policyholder premiums, said Consumer Watchdog.

The e-mail says in part:

Health care reform is at a critical moment with the Senate considering proposed legislation. Join United for Health Reform for a status update on this important debate! United for Health Reform will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 from 1:00-1:30 PM CDT to provide an update on the health care reform debate in Washington, D.C., discuss how to get involved, and answer your questions. Please join us for this conference call hosted by Jud Sommer, Senior Vice President, UnitedHealth Group Government Affairs. Sign up here to join this webinar and you will be provided the sign-in information. As with all events held during business hours, please confirm your ability to attend with your supervisor.

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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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