VTGOP airs video ad critical of Zuckerman treatment of farm labor

Farm worker identified as Nate

By Guy Page

The VT GOP “Rules for Thee, and Not For Me” political ad lambasting David Zuckerman for his alleged poor treatment of farm workers began running this morning on local television, VT GOP Chair Paul Dame said.

Zuckerman, a former lieutenant governor who owns and operates a Hinesburg organic fruit and vegetable farmer with his wife, is running for lieutenant governor as a Democrat. He faces GOP nominee Joe Benning, a longtime state senator from Caledonia County. Election Day is next Tuesday.

In the 30-second ad, a man identified as Nate, a former worker for the Zuckerman farm, is standing in front of a truck. He describes the emotional pressure of working for the “overbearing” Zuckerman, saying he urged workers to keep their heads down and wanted them to delay bathroom breaks. 

The Zuckerman campaign has not responded to VDC requests for comment. 

In an interesting side note, an email containing the VT GOP press release about the video went to the VDC spam box. Google would not release the press release from the spam box despite numerous efforts to do so. However, forwarding the email to another email address allowed VDC to open the email.

Categories: politics

22 replies »

  1. Really???…. everything Zuckerman stands for — higher taxes on gasoline and diesel, higher taxes on home heating fuel, banning internal combustion engine vehicles, policies that have driven up our healthcare costs and made wait times longer, policies that have driven home childcare businesses out of business leading to a crisis, the list goes on… — and THIS is what the VTGOP spends its money promoting? Zuckerman expects his employees to work hard…. If the only thing I knew about David Zuckerman came from this commercial, I’d vote for the guy.

    • Of course, you’re right, Rob. Critical thinking is still missing in even the best-intentioned at the VT GOP. The employee, Nate, who I assume is now a former employee, sounds like the increasing number of people who come through our public education system … the anti-meritocracy, everyone-gets-a-trophy crowd.

      Now if Nate could demonstrate that he pulls more weeds and picks twice as much lettuce as his co-workers, despite going to the bathroom a few times, or staring up at the cosmos, and he’s still paid the same per hour as everyone else, he might have a point.

      But he didn’t. And the VT GOP appears to be cutting off its nose to spite its face, enabling this behavior, just as our public schools do.

    • My sentiment exactly, this ad does nothing but scream amateur hour desperation.

      #HeatingFuel prices leading into winter would resonate better for our Carbon Tax loving farmer.

    • Dame has given zuckerman a gift. Plain and simple. Some undecided voters will cast a vote for zuckerman just because of this ad.
      zuckerman’s politics, his socialist ideals and any proved malfeasance with expense reporting during his time as an elected official are fair game, and need to be brought out. This? This is grasping at straws. Any thought I had of a VTGOP donation evaporated upon merely hearing of this ad- and VTGOP e-mails now go straight into my trash folder.
      It’s important to NOT see zuckerman elected, however it’s equally important to maintain integrity while challenging zuckerman’s record. Dame fails on this simple principal.
      Hopefully, it does not reflect badly on Joe Benning.

  2. Best reason to get rid of early voting. How many people have already voted, and now might change thier mind??

  3. When we regain the house, Google must be brought up before the mast…long overdue. My America First e mails go right to the spam folder, no matter how many times I mark not spam. Google is protected by law, that will change, mark my words.They abused the public’s trust, so must loose their protections and brought before the mast for their misdeeds.

    • Nate happens to be a friend of mine. I know him to be a very hard working young man. He does not expect “participation trophys”. Let’s be careful about stereotyping here folks. Nate has his own business and puts in very long hours. It’s not hard for me to believe that Zuckerman treats his employee like crap. I once had a supervisor who told me one time when I called in sick I had to find someone to cover for me. Some of you may not believe this, but there are employers out there who are extremely unreasonable

  4. Speaking of the childcare crisis. I have been looking over the state of childcare for
    months trying to find some sort of rescue plan for people. The supermajority passed
    childcare legislation that destroyed the mom at home childcare giver as the state
    imposed rules that would devastate all other day care providers unless they comply with state regs. Now that the childcare crisis is in full bloom the state wants to fix and repair it.
    I say get the state out of daycare…. it’s not their mission and this is and was probably driven by the largest union in the state (VEA). The mom next door has what it takes to fix this crisis and at a lower cost.
    When will legislators leave well enough alone and let people live simple lives and flourish where they can (such as home daycare). Every time the legislators get involved and want to “FIX” something you can bet it will get broken under them and then they ride in with “NEW FIXES” that cost the taxpayers even more. The purpose
    of government is the protect its citizens and keep up with infrastructure. But people go to the golden dome and come up with all sorts of reasons to justify their existence no matter the cost to Vermonters and us at home just keep scratching our heads.
    The same could be said for healthcare and our school funding scheme.
    Its long past time to get a balanced legislation and weed out a few of the super majority. Every person should feel this way no matter what our political persuasion is. There are some things more important than belonging to a political party and just voting straight D or R. It should be about what is just, fair and right for Vermonters
    and not or never about special interest groups. We are all in this together.
    BTW, as a business owner for 35 years I would never treat any employee as Mr.
    Zuckerman has done. Shame on him for monitoring people’s bathroom breaks. Treat people decent and you will get decent work from them.

    • Re: “Shame on him for monitoring people’s bathroom breaks”.


      For the record, I’ve been an employer for 50 years. And yes, I monitor bathroom breaks, and cell phone use, cigarette smoking, and productivity in general. I also provide paid breaks every couple of hours. And I reward performance.

      And NO, I’m not supporting David Zuckerman. Far from it. But I’m not supporting the VT GOP that makes a habit of shooting itself in the foot, either.

      • Jay, I get the cell phone use and the cigarette smoking… but bathroom usage..
        really?? In 40 years of working I have never seen a problem with bathroom usage. I always say happy bladder happy employee… kidding.

      • I managed 55 employees for over 30 years and never monitored anything because I respected them and because they knew it they were sincerely committed to doing a good job. I think you need a course in management.

      • Jsy & Deb – This is an excellent opportunity to enlighten readers as to the environment in which employers must operate. I don’t just ‘manage’ people. I’m a company owner and an HR director. I have a B.S. in management. I’m OSHA 30 certified. I’ve employed hundreds of people, not just ‘managed’ them. While going to the bathroom is considered a right by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and employers are prohibited from restricting bathroom use by OSHA standards, Zuckerman’s employee only said he felt pressured ‘emotionally’ and wasn’t paid well. He didn’t say there were labor violations. That would have been a story worth the print.

        Did this fellow, Nate, say he addressed these issues with his supervisor? Did he file a complaint? Did anyone else come forward to corroborate the claim to the VT GOP. Or is this just a ‘hit job’ by a disgruntled worker?

        Employees, after all, have significant protections from these indiscretions. I don’t know the whole story in this case. Perhaps Zuckerman is a tyrannical employer. They’re out there, to be sure. But Vermont is an ‘employment at will’ State, with more job opportunities than can be filled.

        Monitoring bathroom breaks has a lot more to do with employee safety than merely relieving a bodily function. Above average bathroom breaks often indicate more important problems managers must consider. What is the extent of the bathroom use? Does the employee have an undisclosed health issue? Are special accommodations in order? Is there the possibility of illegal drug use? Is the safety (and productivity) of other employees affected?

        Monitoring bathroom use does not mean limiting it. Just consider the recent bruhaha about Covid mandates, vaccines, masks, and social distancing. After all, as an employer, I’m forced to monitor my employees for almost everything they do because I’m held personally responsible for their actions and safety when they are working on my premises, under my direction. And, in many cases, I’m more responsible for their health than they are.

        Manage as you wish. But if you “never monitored anything “, you really never knew anything either.

  5. I wonder when Chairman Dame is going to release a video addressing the Republicans that have violated the VTGOP Platform by voting for Prop 5 and supporting Article 22 ?
    Starting with Benning, who voted for it twice as State Senator from Caledonia County. State Representatives Beck, Walker, Martin, Leffler and Sheuermann all voted for Prop 5.
    Benning has stated multiple times he vote for Article 22.
    Recently Toof and Parent from Franklin County have both come out to support Article 22. In fact Parent joined sides with Mitzi Johnson to send a mailer out to Vermonters.
    Governor Scott has a 100% rating From planned parenthood and says he will vote for Article 22.
    None of them deserve your vote.
    Hey Chairman Dame, do you support the VTGOP Platform or not ?

    Because all those I named have betrayed Real Vermont Republicans.
    Exactly what you accuse Zuckerman of, Rules for thee but not for me.
    To be clear I do not support Zuckerman in any manner.
    But unlike the transrepublicans, he isn’t lying.

  6. Zuckerman is the only candidate that I have ever seen at a political parade handing out dirty carrots to kids lining the street. The guy was probably to cheap to buy a few pieces of candy. The same guy who fudged his expense vouchers for claiming expenses he didn’t incur as a representative. And he’s from Connecticut, what a surprise.

  7. so the GOP is okay in endorsing redic who is not a republican but is a libertarian..
    Write in Gregory M. Thayer….seems to me the GOP is getting desperate……

    • Nate happens to be a friend of mine. I know him to be a very hard working young man. He owns his own business and puts in long hours. Let’s be careful about stereotyping here folks. There are in fact managers and employers who make unreasonable demands. I once had a supervisor who told me when I called in sick on one occasion that I had to find someone to cover my shift. Not hard for me to believe that Zuckerman operates this way, although yes there are other things the VTgop could go after him for.

      • Zuckerman may very well be a slave driver, but this ad doesn’t make the case. There’s no smoking gun, just one former disgruntled employee complaining that his boss wanted him to keep his head down and do his job. Meanwhile, Zuckerman states over and over in televised debates that he wants to increase Vermonters’ home heating bills with a carbon tax on top of the $5 a gallon folks are already paying today — an issue that directly affects 80% of the households in Vermont, and multiple polls show landslide disapproval of — and that stays on the VTGOP’s cutting room floor. I just don’t get it.

    • Obviously Angelo you’re not keeping up. Ericka is a republican but was forced to run as a libertarian when independent Liam Madden slid into the republican primary under false pretenses. You are probably a Becca voter who found his way over here because you can’t voice your opinion anywhere else. It is the Dem/prog party that is desperate but not here in Deep blue VT. It doesn’t matter though because the country is going with the red wave.

  8. The guy on this ad looks like a hired actor to me. We’re lucky to have David Zuckerman in Vermont, wanting to serve.

  9. Sounds like this farm is run like a majority of the cubicle jungles. The bathroom breaks are tracked on the computer. “Away from desk” is calculated and tracked. Every minute of the day is monitored from log-in to log-out. The novel “Animal Farm” turns out to be non-fiction after all.

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