consultants are sandburs

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reader help requested - Can anyone tell me, is FleetFarm unionized? What about the oil company? [UPDATED]

As a child I met Ronald Reagan.
Isn't that enough?
The headline poses a simple pair of questions.

Next simple question, what's the hourly pay that FleetFarm pays its workers?

Rich guy Mills III runs an attack ad featuring a Joe-the-Plumber variant, union guy, hand-picked, saying Nolan is not friendly enough to unions.

Mills III, he'll be worker friendly and union friendly, if representing the Range? Did he get that wealthy by dad (Mills II), and grand dad (Mills I) paying the help fairly?

It's unclear whether Minnesota voters will warm up to the hard-partying congressional hopeful whose family business, Mills Fleet Farm, is a Minnesota fixture.

Now a company vice president, his personal fortune is between $46 million and $150 million, according to financial disclosures he has filed as part of his candidacy.

And he has taxation on his mind, replete with rhetoric and flying pigs, whatever:

Mills said he favors a “flatter, fairer tax code” based on trimming out tax loopholes to help pay for lowering overall tax rates on “job creators,” small- and medium-sized businesses that file their taxes on the individual tax scale.

Democrats, including the House Majority PAC in a television ad campaign against Mills, have noted such a plan would inevitability mean lowering tax rates on individual high-income earners. But Mills said the point of the plan would be to help small businesses compete with corporations armed with accountants to help them navigate the tax code.

“Here’s the problem the Democrats have: they say they’re for jobs, but they’re constantly at war with job creators,” he said.

That awful job creators shibboleth. So, what quality-pay jobs has FleetFarm created? [Also, pay attention to that tax policy rhetoric, more on that below].

BOTTOM LINE: Mills III, what's the unionization-compensation story in your storefront's back yard? Is the help paid $15 per hour or more, the fair pay level the fast food workers seek? Mills III, sun gonna shine, in your back yard, some day.

More? Sure. First: Campaign bio flak indicating Mills III is the one, whether or not "armed with accountants" of the firm, who is clearly best equipped to directly and forthrightly answer the few simple personnel questions raised here; the bio stating, Mills III:

[...] served as the Director of Personnel for Fleet Farm from 2000-2010 overseeing the administration and management of a workforce of more than 6,000, as well as health insurance, 401k, Profit Sharing and other benefit plans.

So, Mr. Personnel Director: Do FleetFarm workers earn more than or as much as taconite industry employees? (After all, concern for the working man or working woman should begin at home, and yet it is taconite jobs about which Mills III keeps talking. Not his own firm's help. That's called "a glide and slide.")

More on being ripe for answering the realtive pay questions, MinnPost, here, links to an online pdf of Mill's financial disclosure, and then MinnPost reports, "Mills himself earned just less than $570,000 in salary from Fleet Farm last year, according to the filing." (How many times the pay of an average FleetFarm employee does that equal? 10 to 1, or higher?)

Moreover, there is also closely held Crow Wing Oil Company, where Mills III lists multiple demand notes receivable [on one disclosure form place] and demand notes payable [on another disclosure form place] as well as his disclosure pages identifying multiple family irrevocable trusts in existence. He identifies himself as a vice president of Crow Wing Oil Company. Reportedly, this closely held firm is "a privately-held wholesale distributor of oil products. The company does not explore and drill nor process and refine, transport and store oil and gas. It simply purchases and sells end products." That item also identifies Nolan as having international oil industry contacts.

If that closely held firm exchanging notes with an insider-officer, does not suggest to you tax avoidance planning, as might the plethora of family trusts as part of sophisticated estate planning, then you lack sophistication suitable to weigh likelihoods and true intent when Mills III advocates tax simplification while criticizing firms "armed with accountants." Consider if you will whereas such tax avoidance planning and estate planning as is suggested with the Oil Company likely is not done with accountants AND lawyers, as armament.

Just sitting around the kitchen table, disarmed, while writing out our papers between us? Get real. So, what's the bona fides of the spiel Mills III delivers to listeners beyond his wanting his own tax rates lowered? There seems a disconnect between what the man says, and what his financial disclosure shows him, and family, doing.

One last point: The Oil Company petrol product distribution drivers, Teamsters at Teamster wages; or less?

How is their compensation relative to the taconite workers for whom Mills III declares such a campaign-conscious concern.

Just wondering.

Iron Range union members should pay attention to facts, not fictions.

___________UPDATE___________
Reading more carefully the Crow Wing Oil Company info above

The company does not explore and drill nor process and refine, transport and store oil and gas. It simply purchases and sells end products.

seems to moot the question of employee pay, but raises the question, what does this entity really do?

It appears to be a shell for commodity speculative trading adventure, (and they say horse racing is the sport of kings), unless it takes ownership and transports something, and that gives an even more suspect appearance to Mills III exchanging notes back and forth with what possibly is a shell investment vehicle. But the quote also said, Crow Wing Oil Company is "a privately-held wholesale distributor of oil products." Either it distributes, or only trades, and if it distributes petrol products, we are back to the question of compensation for the "backyard" help as opposed to sympathy with the interests of taconite workers working elsewhere.

What's the story on the Oil Company? At risk of over using the term, this time on the description of the Oil Company, is there another "glide and slide" at play? What's it do, who's on the payroll - how many, and what's the average pay per hour?

___________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Hat tip to Dan Burns who posts at MPP, for sending this glassdoor.com data link.

That link is the source of the below screen captures. They show FleetFarm pay is very unspectacular, with some salaries listed, as part of what is mostly hourly wage pay.

At best, the highest apparent pay within the mediocre pay levels listed show Mills III taking out last year's money for himself, at over ten times what the best paid hired help earns.

Hourly wages paid are nowhere near the $15 per hour currently sought by fast food workers.

That, and taking advantage of income and estate tax planning opportunity, "loopholes" judged by some, is what Mills III does - despite anything to the contrary he may state as intended policy directions he would pursue if elected. (click the thumbnails to enlarge and read)



Last, this is the most informative web info I could find on Crow Wing Oil Company, 5 employees noted, but otherwise it adds little supplemental to Mills III's pattern of notes payable/receivable, with a "Helen Mills" listed as the firm's president. Closely held, for the purposes of those holding, and as far I know of, no pending Hobby Lobby type of litigation originating from the Mills people. In state courts the only Stewart Mills [not corporate filings] personal litigation was state tax court matters involving Mills II, and there was one speeding ticket, 71 in a 60 zone, for a Stewart Mills born in 1972, whichever one that is. A boring litigation history, and Kurt Daudt's driving tickets record dwarfs that one Mills item several times over.

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