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Laramie residents boycott local restaurants, accuse franchise owner of voter-intimidation

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Some Laramie residents have organized to boycott businesses owned by Tim Woodward, a local restaurant franchise owner.

Last week, Woodward and his brother Rob – the Woodwards operate franchises in Wyoming and Colorado – wrote an open letter in the Laramie Boomerang, saying they told employees that if President Obama is re-elected and the Affordable Care Act stands, he will be forced to cut hours and benefits to employees.

Will Welch, an administrator for the Facebook group “Say No to Voter Intimidation Food”, called the letter “craven and unnecessary”.

“They do have a right to free speech, but it’s not necessary and it’s inappropriate and it’s mean,” Welch says. “You know, it caused a lot of outrage because they’re using this public forum to threaten their employees.”

Welch questions the accuracy of the Woodwards’ interpretation of the Affordable Care Act, saying the promised cuts might be unnecessary. Welch says he hopes the boycott will lead the Woodwards to stop pressuring employees and other voters… and if the businesses did close, Welch says he hopes they would be replaced by entrepreneurs who do not try to influence their employees’ votes. 

Tim Woodward runs the Subway sandwich shops and Bagelmakers in Laramie. He declined to be interviewed or name any of his other businesses.

In an e-mail he said he was not trying to influence the votes of his employees, but rather to educate them on how the new law might affect his business decisions.