We got word via an editorial in today’s Idaho Falls Post Register that Frank VanderSloot will run another ad in the Eastern Idaho paper this Sunday:
In this paper on Sunday, Melaleuca Inc. purchased a full-page advertisement to support State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's public school reform plan. Nothing wrong with that. Frank VanderSloot's company has the right to back whatever public policies it sees fit … but Melaleuca wasn't content to support Luna. The company took repeated shots at the Idaho Education Association. No, Melaleuca didn't name the IEA specifically, but it was clear the teachers union was targeted. To his credit, VanderSloot has purchased space in this Sunday's paper to emphasize that his criticisms were aimed at the union and not Idaho's teachers.
We haven’t heard whether VanderSloot has placed his new ad in other Idaho newspapers. But the Lewiston Tribune suggests that if he does, he might want to tone down the over-generalizing anti-union rhetoric. Both newspapers are available online to subscribers only. We reprint the following with the Tribune’s permission:
JEERS … to Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot. If VanderSloot wants to take on his nemesis – the Idaho Education Association – in the full-page ads he purchased in at least five Idaho daily newspapers Sunday, that's his business. But you'd think a master of marketing would have conducted a little market research before placing the ad in the Tribune. Had he done so, VanderSloot might not have so ardently insulted a good portion of the Lewiston-Clarkston labor pool.
VanderSloot is an enthusiastic supporter of state schools Superintendent Tom Luna's reform package, which includes merit pay for teachers, online learning and laptop computers for students – and pays for it by increasing class sizes about 9 percent.
In his ad, VanderSloot condemns Luna's most visible opposition – the IEA – as a group of union bosses who put their selfish agenda ahead of the good of Idaho's school kids.
But then the VanderSloot ad levels a sweeping condemnation at all labor unions:
“Unions are not known for creating quality, efficiency, or a strong work ethic. To the contrary, their goal is to make a safe haven for even the lowest performer. They understand there is power in numbers. Mediocrity is the standard. In most union shops, if an employee decides to give an above average effort or superior performance, they are asked to tone it down a bit. The result is always destructive to the employer. The demise of General Motors, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, the entire airlines industry, and the American education system are indicative of the devastating impact that unions have on the industries they serve. Strong unions create failing systems.”
So what is VanderSloot saying about 1,000 Clearwater Paper pulp and paperworkers who are members of United Steelworkers of America?
Is he saying they're “not known for creating quality?”
How is VanderSloot characterizing the 400 Clearwater Paper sawmill employees who are members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers woodworkers division? Do they subscribe to the idea that “mediocrity is the standard?”
And if union workers have such a “devastating impact” on the “industries they serve,” how does VanderSloot explain Clearwater Paper's success? Two years ago, its stock was trading at $12 a share. Today, it's almost $80 a share.