Should companies fire “Day Without Immigrants” protesters?

By Alex Solari, Staff Writer

On February 16, thousands of workers across the country refused to work as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest to combat Trump’s stance on immigration.

This caused many businesses to close for the day due to a shortage of staff, and over 100 workers were fired for their participation in the strike.

According to National Review, Bradley Coatings in Tennessee, who warned their employees that they would be terminated if they did not show up to work on the day of the protest, and subsequently, eighteen employees were fired from their positions.

As a person who is against the Trump administration, I believe that these protestors made the right decision, and if I were in their position, I would have went on strike as well.
But, this is a tricky situation because although workers were protesting for a great cause, businesses cannot function if their employees do not show up to work.

However, these workers could have given a notice to their employers, and if that is the case, these companies had absolutely no reason to fire these employees.

According to The Atlantic, some former workers of Bradley Coatings actually claimed that they gave their employers enough notice to request the day off, but the company claims this is not the case. They made a statement saying, “The reason these employees missed work—to engage in peaceful demonstrations—had nothing to do with [Bradley Coatings]’s decision to terminate them.”

This is where legal issues come into play, if these employees are telling the truth, the companies that fired them could have broken labor laws.

According to The Atlantic, it’s a somewhat murky topic since there is no law specifically saying that businesses can’t fire employees for missing work to protest.

The companies that made the best choice in this situation were the ones that decided to close down for the day.

According to the Washington Post, many fast casual dining chains in Washington closed, and upscale restaurants even closed, which caused them to cancel long-standing reservations.

48 percent of those who work in food service in Washington are immigrants, therefore they made the best decision to shut down. This is because they showed allegiance to their workers, and it stops the issue of being short on labor and possibly firing employees for missing work to support the cause. Although the companies lost profits for the day, showing employees support can potentially help the company in the long run.

Even though companies who closed the doors for the day made the best decision, I can still somewhat understand the companies who fired their employees.

Regardless of the fact that the protest was for a good cause, companies have to make a profit, and unfortunately some workers reaped the consequences of that.

Although this issue affected some families negatively, it hopefully made a big enough mark on cities around the country for the Trump administration to notice.

This protest expanded even past job strikes, and many parents had their children stay home from school and daycare to show what these institutions would be like without immigrant children.

Some immigrants even decided to avoid spending money on February 16 to show what the economy would be like without them.

If these employees who were fired did give a proper notice, then these companies deserve to be punished for firing employees.

I can only hope that the rest of the employees who lost their jobs can find employment soon, that this job loss does not destroy them financially, and that the protest’s efforts do not go unnoticed.

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