Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another Sort of Wendt Initiative...

It seems that Richard Wendt, multi-millionaire and benefactor of UD's Wendt Initiative, has been involved in many other sorts of initiatives, many of which seem to be quite opposed to the Christian social justice mission.

In 1999, the Northwest Labor Press (NLP) reported that Wendt was intimately involved in passing the so-called "JOBS Plus" measure in Oregon: "[T]he measure, as written, was to abolish unemployment benefits, food stamps, and welfare benefits, and use the money to put the former recipients to work in subsidized or unsubsidized jobs at 10 percent less than the minimum wage. Wendt gave over $180,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to the campaign for the measure" (emphasis added). The measure was "[b]ased on an idea Wendt had been mulling over for 20 years [...]."

The arguably immoral and economically dubious plan was slightly modified after Barbara Roberts was elected governor. "Under the terms of the compromise," NLP reports, "unemployment, welfare and food stamps would not be abolished. Instead, a portion of their funding would be diverted to fund a subsidy for employers who would hire from the unemployment and welfare rolls."

One such employer was JELD-WEN, Inc., the company founded by Richard Wendt in the 1960s, and the source of his wealth. According to NLP's 1999 report, "Since the statewide JOBS Plus program began in July 1996, 130 workers have been placed in 13 Jeld-Wen companies. That amounts to between $600,000 and $800,000 in welfare, food stamp and unemployment benefits converted to a wage subsidy for the largest privately-owned company in Oregon. Just under half of the JOBS Plus placements were hired permanently by the Jeld-Wen companies at the expiration of their subsidized term; most of the remainder have found jobs elsewhere."

It certainly seems that Dick Wendt recouped his $180,000 investment in the measure.

It is striking that this shrewd business move was the brainchild of the man who is effectively bankrolling the University's "ethics across the curriculum" initiative. Would our UD business professors, who are to incorporate ethical teaching in their class sessions, recommend such a cunning and profitable maneuver? We certainly hope not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the rationale behind the program? Perhaps economic conditions unique to Oregon are involved, and a long-range benefit to the state is an intended result.

Monday, January 09, 2006 8:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back from break. This should be an interesting term. One Blog, Two lawsuits, Three (or four) new Vice Presidents and the strangeness goes on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The statement two entries above is a great illustration of what is wrong with teaching character/ethics in the Reformed Tradition without having people that have the intellectual ability to understand what they are saying. The author states:
"What was the rationale behind the program? Perhaps economic conditions unique to Oregon are involved, and a long-range benefit to the state is an intended result."

Without realizing it, the author demonstrates that he/she does not understand even basic Christian Ethics. One does not take actions to benefit companies, states, or countries. One takes actions to benefit people. The reason is actually pretty obvious, any action can be justified for "my firm" or "my state" or "my country" which removes any form of a guidance to thought and actions.

There are strong arguements in favor of programs like "welfare to work" or forcing people to work to receive a benefit but defending the programs and being in the longterm interest of the state is not one of them.

Seminary Student

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that employees and alum are going to love to read UD's responce to Jeffries initial requests in court.

Downsized Faculty

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the person who submitted the item to which the Seminary Student responded above, I would caution against assumptions about intellectual ability. If this blog is to have a positive impact, it must reach as many people as possible. Intellectual snobbery will not help the cause. In fact, it directly feeds the criticism of academia that gushes from neo-conservatives at the present time.

Whatever strong feelings you may have about right and wrong, and whatever Christian/Reformed/philosophical bases you have for those feelings, we share an obligation to engage with others in modern society in a constructive way. If your specialized training allows you to provide helpful insights in the case before us, by all means speak up. Be aware, however, that a superior, judgmental tone will only isolate you and thus make you less effective.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Seminary Student:
Clearly when work is done in exchange for money or services it is always better than when no work is done. That is true for the state and the people. (A government for the people by the people) It's called progress. It is foolish to read two paragraphs about a topic and start making assumptions. If you want to criticize this one then read the bill. You might want to consider some economics too. Look I can be rude and I don't need to use large convoluted words. You also sound like someone who could who suffers a bit from road rage. There is no reason to be mean and I hope you can forgive me.:)

The reason most poor people stay poor is because they do not have to get a job! If you make them work to receive benefits they will most likely get a better job. Getting a job while on welfare is sometimes a bad idea if you are unskilled because often the extra money people will make is taken away in loss of benefits. By the way I grew up in a level of poverty most people don't know even exists in the United States and it was a job that started to move me up the economic ladder, and I love it.

Dr. Paul Jeffries was very good and this entire lawsuit is petty. The whole thing stinks. I think it is good that we are all talking about it but it just sad that it is this way. I hope we can all put these sad squables into perspective. It is troubling that has all gone this far. I don't contribute millions but maybe I should consider sending my further donations elsewhere.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous above wrote so many things that are wrong, I am going to need a few more days to finish cleaning up the numerous miskakes he wrote. Forgive me for not responding right away, but I have needed to look into a few details before commenting. My responce on Monday or Tuesday

Friday, January 27, 2006 9:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so is this website going to do anything or what? Where is all this information about the lawsuit and other issues? You haven't update in a month. COME ON.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 2:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you haven't seen it, the Feb.19 article in the Des Moines Register about the salaries of college presidents is of interest -- it features comments about Jeff Bullock. Go to: .

Sunday, February 19, 2006 5:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't understand what this posting and the one about "sexist etiquette" have to do with the Jeffries lawsuit? What is the purpose of posting them?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 1:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I do not know the real answer to the above blog entry, it occurs to me that all comments establish support for the reality that administration does not have a clue about what is really going on within the hearts and minds of employees.

What's worse, I do not get the impression that administration wants to know how employees think or feel. Instead, simple following of administrative direction is all that is expected...and without challenge.

What amazes me is that more employees don't offer their perspectives by leaving UD. I guess they don't mind directive actions and subservient responses.

Monday, May 08, 2006 3:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The University's attempt to exploit its "ethics initiative" is looking more and more hypocritical. Many of the present staff members adhere to so-called "situational ethics", but they should consider the long-term impact on the reputation of the institution.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you folks should check out Klamath Falls, the Jeld-Wen "company town" and all the goings on there.

Saturday, February 16, 2008 9:07:00 PM  

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