On Thursday, immigration activists around the country attended a nationwide protest they called, "A Day Without Immigrants," skipping out on work obligations in order to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies.
The intent behind the protest was to show the rest of the country just how valuable immigrants are to the American workforce. But now over 100 people and counting will be forced to find new jobs after finding out instead just how valuable at-will employment also can be to the American workforce.
As TheBlaze reported on Saturday, Bradley Coatings Incorporated, a painting company in Tennessee, made headlines after announcing they had fired 18 employees for skipping work to attend the rally. The company's attorney, Robert Peal, explained that the employees were not fired for their participation in the rally, but because the company warned the employees that they would be fired if they did not show up to complete time-sensitive projects.
"Because of the time-sensitive nature of the jobs these employees were assigned to, all employees were told that they would need to show up for work or they would be terminated ... Regretfully, and consistent with its prior communication to all its employees, BCI had no choice but to terminate these individuals," Peal said in a statement. Seven more employees quit the company to show solidarity for their former co-workers.
In Lexington, South Carolina, 21 employees were fired from Encore Boat Builders LLC when they attended the rally instead of work, and no call/no showed the organization. One employee, Juvenito Quintana, told WLTX-TV that management called some employees the day before the rally to warn them if they skipped work, they would be fired. Quintana said the other employees didn't call in because they were scared they would lose their jobs. They still, however, skipped work and attended the protest.
Grace Community School, a child care facility in Florida, had to close on Thursday when they didn't have enough staff to take care of the children. Two teachers who skipped work for the protest were fired, and four more quit the same day. One former employee, Brenda Botello, said they quit before they could be fired. "We hear that they get fired, go home. I say it's not fair. If we... before he fire me, I'm gonna go, I leave," she told WBBH-TV.
In Denver, JVS Masonry terminated 30 employees for the same reason when they didn't show up for work. Owner Jim Serowski told one of his foremen in a text message, "You stand for what you believe, make sure you stand for whatever consequences are going to come." KDVR-TV also reported that Serowski said it was purely a business decision, and if the employees wanted their jobs back, all they had to do is ask.
Twelve employees were fired from a restaurant in Oklahoma for disregarding their work responsibilities, KTUL-TV reported. All the employees were Hispanic and said attending the rally was important to them. "I hope you enjoyed your day off. And you can enjoy many more. Love you," the owner texted one of the employees.
— Ethan Hutchins (@ehutchinsnews) February 17, 2017
And in New York, though employees were not fired solely for skipping work to go to the protest, 25 people were fired from Ben's Delicatessen after they allegedly pressured other employees to join the protest, even threatening physical harm to those who wanted to work their shifts. In a statement posted on their website, the organization said, "While some employees opted to participate in the walkout, several others chose to work and, as a result, the leaders of the protest put pressure on the others to walk out, even threatening physical harm to colleagues choosing to work their shifts," the statement read.
"As it is Ben’s mission to provide a safe and welcoming work environment for all employees, company owner Ronnie Dragoon found this to be a cause for immediate dismissal of the employees who made the threats. All other employees involved with the walkout were, and still are, invited to return to their positions with the company," it concluded.
In total, after "A Day Without Immigrants," at least 112 people around the country found out the hard way not to take their jobs for granted.