Unethical Protest, Unethical Protesters, Just Desserts


Last week’s “A Day Without Immigrants” protest could be the example in the dictionary to illustrate “unethical protest,” or perhaps “stupid protest.”  The stunt of immigrants not coming to work to protest policies aimed at illegal immigrants and terrorists was a non sequitur, proving nothing, saying nothing. Nobody wants to stop immigration, nobody has an objection to legal immigrants, and the danger of the U.S. not having sufficient legal immigrants is precisely none. According to the Ethics Alarms Protest Check List, “A Day Without Immigrants”  was an epic, embarrassing, dud. If my immigrant employees used this jaw-droppingly dumb protest  to justify not coming to work, I would do exactly what Bradley Coatings, Incorporated  in Nolensville, Tennessee did.

I’d fire them all.

The 18 immigrant employees told their supervisors with less than 24 hours notice that they’d be  part of  the nationwide work boycott. The next day, they were told they were fired.

One employee complained. “I would tell him he was unfair, after working for them for so many years, giving him our best. They could not understand that it was just one day. We were going to make up that day on a Sunday, but they didn’t understand that, and it was not the best way. They didn’t give us an opportunity and just told us we were fired,” he said.

Fiar? The protesters were the ones being unfair.  Losing 18 employees without time to replace them placed the company in an impossible situation. Loyalty goes two ways. The employees had no grievance with the company, but thanks to the stupid protest,  victimized it anyway. In a statement, the company’s lawyer said in part,

“Bradley Coatings, Incorporated (BCI) is a family-owned, Nashville-based business that provides commercial painting services to its clients on a very demanding schedule.  Established in 1986, BCI has always celebrated diversity and supported the immigrant community.  This past Wednesday night, certain employees of BCI informed their leadership that they would not be at work the following day.  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.  On Thursday, the majority of BCI’s employees fulfilled their obligations to our clients, but eighteen employees did not.  Regretfully, and consistent with its prior communication to all its employees, BCI had no choice but to terminate these individuals.  The reason these employees missed work—to engage in peaceful demonstrations—had nothing to do with BCI’s decision to terminate them.  BCI regrets this situation, but it has contracted with its clients to complete work on a schedule set by the client’s general contractor.”

Apparently about a hundred protesters lost their jobs. Now some are trying to organize boycotts of the companies that fired them.

Of course they are.

62 thoughts on “Unethical Protest, Unethical Protesters, Just Desserts

  1. This refusal to distinguish between legal immigrants and illegal aliens (ok the pc term is “undocumented workers”) is maddening. If they want to peacefully protest fine but do it on your time off.

  2. “They could not understand that it was just one day. We were going to make up that day on a Sunday, but they didn’t understand that, and it was not the best way.”

    This is such nonsense. The entire purpose of the “Day Without Immigrants” is to try to harm employers and the general economy, in order to make a point. It is analogous to withholding sex from a spouse for a while to “teach them to appreciate” you, or whatever.

    Therefore if you participate in the protest, you should be HOPING to cause harm. That’s the entire point. If you AREN’T causing harm to your employer, because you are just going to make it up to them by working on a Sunday, then your participation in the protest is about as meaningless as going on a hunger strike in between breakfast and lunch. It doesn’t do any damage to the economy or to your employer, and therefore no point is made.

    The above is probably why past attempts at “Days Without Immigrants” failed to make any kind of noticeable impact. People want to keep their jobs, so they take sick days, request time off, or just shuffle their schedules around in ways their supervisors are totally cool with. “Hey boss, I’d like to have Thursday off in order to fight the racist capitalist system. I’ll make up for it next week, I promise.” (That’ll teach the bourgeoisie scum.)

    These “take a day off” protests are probably a great way to identify and purge disloyal workers too. It could be excellent for the economy, considering the positive impact replacing just one mediocre employee with a great one can have.

  3. Something like this happened at our company some 7-8 years ago (before I was in), the boss laid them all off. Which left the company scrambling for labor. Since then we’ve had an incredibly loyal work force hiring and paying well workers who don’t grandstand.

    Then this protest occurred. This time, maybe 15% of our labor didn’t show up. The next day the owner called the entire workforce together gave a talk about loyalty both ways and promptly called each worker who didn’t join the grandstanding up to him and handed them each a bonus roughly equivalent to 2.5-4 weeks of labor.

    Those who joined the stupid protest got to sit and watch.

    Ethical evaluation?

  4. I just have to wonder what motivates the legal immigrant — who obeyed the law, probably waited a fairly long period of time to get into the US legally and be appropriately documented, and does what is necessary to either become a citizen or maintain proper documentation — would really care so much about the illegal immigrants — who sneak in unlawfully, take a lot of jobs at lower wages because of their lack of documentation, and have the gall to claim they have some “right” to be here.

    Why all the sympathy for those who took all the short cuts and, partially because of that, are giving all immigration a second look? If I had immigrated legally, the last thing I would do is support — particularly in this moronic manner — those who snuck in and/or stayed in once their visas expired. This defies all logic, unless someone can explain it to me.

    • This is all anecdotal and based on a very small sample size, but I do know several Latino people who feel VERY much the way you would. They tend to be the ones most into U.S. politics in my limited experience.

      Mexican politics (and this goes for a lot of other nations too) is based heavily on patronage; a politician solicits support from various people-groups and then promises to reward them directly. This support can look a lot like a parent-child relationship or even love (in India the minister of a region might be called “mother.”) Therefore there is a lot of benefit to be gained if a U.S. political party can claim to be the one “on the side” of Mexicans in general, regardless of whether that party’s policies will help.

      To be brief, if you can just convince a group that you love them and the other side hates them, then you can skip all the stuff about comparing policies, results, etc. This doesn’t work on everyone…but you only need slightly more than half. The tribal instinct is strong.

    • As a legal immigrant from Mexico I can tell you that a good amount of my friends support illegals out of a misplaced sense of loyalty or patriotism. It makes me wonder, “if you’re so worried about Mexico, why did you leave instead of working to improve the conditions there?” They also tend to be very insular (not embracing the local culture) and staunchly support open borders, not considering that the end result is creating here the same corrupt and unjust environment they’re running from.

      It pisses me off.

    • One word, family.. Many legal immigrants wanting to shield the undocumented might do so to protect family who overstayed their visas during a visit.

  5. The aptly named “Thinking is Overrated” offered this comment for moderation…I couldn’t let him in, seeing as he is, you know, a moron, but the comment is fun. I’ll interlocute in bold:


    Strike one: assuming that analysis and ethics based positions are partisan. Uh-uh-uh!

    TN-based company BCI says that layoffs of workers have nothing to do with the fact they protested for immigrant rights.

    Because the firing, not lay-offs, were obviously for the straightforward reason that the employees didn’t show up for scheduled work. For apparent SJW’s like Thinking, Occam’s Razor is an inconvenience.

    Strike Two.

    And the “travel ban” isn’t anti-Muslim.

    No, it’s anti-likely terrorist. I know this is hard…but STRIKE THREE

    And Trump is a good President and his supporters are smart.

    No one has said either here, I believe. But Trump may be, and his supporters may be proven right.

    Oh—fourth dumb comment out of four.

    All for of these statements have something in common: they are lies.

    Actually, they aren’t. Some are facts, some are opinions, and some are possibilities. Get a dictionary. You really are one of those idiots who doesn’t realize you are one, aren’t you? Sorry. You still get a 5th strike.

    My only question as we enter March 2o17 is who does anyone in your camp of nitwits do you think you’re fooling?

    Who’s trying to fool anyone? I’ll give TIO a pass on this one.

    ? The eyes of the world are watching the Angry White Man’s LAST stand.

    Ah! This is a racist idiot, then! I knew something was off! This is 37 strikes.

    Enjoy your time whining and crying about flags and traditional values and Jesus and evil people of color and abortions.

    Wait–what blog is this guy writing to? Is he alright?

    Time is against you. Eventually, you lose. The world changed and it left you behind, in 1845, where you belong.

    The Annexation of Texas? The Irish Potato Blight?

    But no…. yeah… Mexico’s gonna built that wall…. right after my poo turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbert.

    Sentence of the Day! I’ll subtract a strike for that.

  6. I saw something on a Salt Lake City station about an employer in Utah that did the same thing. From my employment experience (everything from house cleaning and assembly line work to professional) the more the job requires physical labor the more likely you are to be fired for missing work.

    • I think it’s a matter of de facto open borders along with catch and release policies that have given the “undocumented workers” and their allies the idea that they can do as they damn please. Laws and regulations not enforced will be always ignored.

  7. Yep, agree with the company (and Jack) here. While I do see some smoke in the actions of the president so far, until something actually goes into law deserving of this level of protest, everyone needs to do their jobs.

    If you want to protest non-existing policies on your time off, have at it.

  8. An employer has a right to fire its employees if it is not for an illegal reason (race, gender, etc.), but the company’s excuse doesn’t pass muster. It had to fire them because of the time-sensitive nature of their jobs? Obviously, there isn’t much time sensitivity going on if the employer can easily fire 18 employees while fulfilling all those contracts.

    • Spartan wrote, “…the company’s excuse doesn’t pass muster.”

      Nonsense. These employees had an obligation to show up for work, they chose to make a “bluff” point en masse, their point was made, their bluff was called.

      So nice of you to judge the employer for their actions and say nothing about the obligations or actions of the employees. Stop trying to pass the ethical buck.

      There are consequences to the choices the employees made, but it seems like you don’t think there should be.

      • I think you missed the opening line where I said the employer had a right to fire them?

        Do you wear special glasses when you read my posts?????

        • Spartan wrote, “I think you missed the opening line where I said the employer had a right to fire them?”

          So you think that the first part of that sentence is supposed to give you a pass on the rest of what you said after the word “but”; plus we’re supposed to ignore your complete lack of condemnation of the unethical actions of the employees.

          Logic is not your forte.

          Try again.

          • I will try again. Companies can do whatever they want — firing these employees was perfectly legal.

            However, the Company should have kept its mouth shut about WHY it did it, because the excuse doesn’t pass muster. Either these were essential employees or they weren’t. How can a company not deal with 18 employees not showing up for work for ONE DAY but so easily replace 18 of them in one fell swoop? Doesn’t make sense — or to use your word, this is “illogical.” The company either can handle all of its existing contracts without these employees or they are able to switch appointments around until 18 new employees can be retained and trained.

            • They may have two hundred or more painters. Who knows? You know more about running a large scale painting contractor operation that this company does? Incredible hubris.

                • Spartan wrote, “Either they were essential employees or they were not — the nature of the industry is irrelevant.”

                  So you are wearing industrial-strength weapons-grade thickened ideological blinders.

                • My read on that is that the having those 18 employees on that day was essential, but the employees themselves are easily replaceable. Once the company failed to meet its contract because of their absence, then it was easy to replace them.

                  The 18 employees were a minority of the companies workforce. It is relatively easy to deal with the absence of a small percentage of your workforce provided you know about it in advance and can schedule around it. It kinda seems like you’re making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

            • Spartan said, “How can a company not deal with 18 employees not showing up for work for ONE DAY but so easily replace 18 of them in one fell swoop?”

              Again; stop trying to pass the ethical buck by minimizing this with your “ONE DAY” apologist attitude, it’s 144 man hours that the employer lost in “ONE DAY”.

              Now to answer you question; this seems to be a reasonable size company and as such they likely have a back log of people applying for the jobs available. I have a friend that owns a local painting company, they paint just about anything and he always has a backlog of available painters wanting work. This isn’t computer programming and I’m not here to insult painters; however, many of the general tasks of painting can be taught in very short order, the details are done by the really skilled employees and in some areas even those come a “dime a dozen”.

            • I wasn’t crazy about the statement either. The employees were fired because 1) the didn’t give sufficient notice 2) They skipped work against the wished of the owner and 3) it’s an at will state. Anyone can understand why losing 18 employees is a hardship, but I don’t see that is crucial. I would have fired a single protester for reasons 1,2, and 3.

        • Where do I get the special glasses? Come on, Sparty, you always jab and counter punch in your comments. You always say “this, but don’t forget that.” It’s just your contrarian cum Utopian world view. Plus law school training. You just enjoy being what you think is iconoclastic. Plus, I’d hazard to guess, you have a bit of a tendency to think you’re smarter than most everyone else. Like most U of M grads. Which is surprising for an MSU grad.

          • Also, your comment began by stating the basic legal principal. You didn’t say THIS employer had a right to fire her employees. You said AN employer and immediately went on to state why this employer did not meet the criteria. So, Zoltar was absolutely correct.

            • I think it goes without saying that if an employer legally can do it, then the employer had the right to do it. I thought that was a generally known concept, but I was an employment lawyer, so perhaps I am presuming knowledge where I should not be.

              By the way, I am not even saying that it was ethically incorrect for the employer to fire its employees for this reason. I don’t really care on way or the other — but that doesn’t change the fact that the stated reason doesn’t make sense.

              By the way, I don’t think you have special glasses.

              • I think the company’s stated reason is not a bad reason and therefore completely defensible. I suspect they had to pay overtime to other employees and incurred additional supervisory expense for scheduling and superintending. I think you’re just in litigator mode. But that’s fine. You’re complusively competitive and hate to lose, even at checkers, I bet. Did you play ice hockey as a kid? Hah.


                • Checkers is boring and ice hockey was for boys in my time.

                  I find it interesting that you think I am in litigator mode. I honestly thought the stated reason didn’t pass the sniff test. The fact that you do is fine — but I’m not going to draw conclusions about your motives because of it.

          • I think I take my fair share of jabs here and I do so good-naturedly.

            But you are correct — I usually think I am right when I am dealing with a couple of commenters here, Zoltar being one of them.

            • Spartan wrote, “But you are correct — I usually think I am right when I am dealing with a couple of commenters here, Zoltar being one of them.”

              Glad to know that you usually think your right and I’m wrong. I thing that might show a bit of prejudice on your part. Whatever Sparty.

              I noticed that you still have not stated one word about the unethical actions of the employees that chose to defy their obligations to their employer by not showing up en masse. Does the ends justify the means to you no matter what?

              • Good point, Z. Classic misdirection. Focus on a tangential issue, thereby invalidating the main point of the post. Sparty’s sub rosa argument is: the employees were victimized by an unethical employer. Although she will deny it. Just typical litigator behavior: concede nothing. Once a lawyer, always a lawyer. She’s a tough cookie. But I think Jack prizes Sparty and Charles and deery and Chris and fatty moon, among others, because without them commenting, ethics alarms could be called, unfairly I think, an echo chamber.

                • But I don’t think the employees were treated unfairly.

                  On the night of the immigrant walk-out, I went out to eat with my friends here in DC. The walk-out was big here, so we had to find a restaurant that was open. If it were important to me, I would have stayed home out of solidarity.

                  And, I do admit where I have prejudices — that’s called self-knowledge and I highly recommend it.

                  And this IS an echo chamber. The fact that I’ve had to defend what seems to me a very obvious criticism of the employer’s statement is exhausting. It’s why I don’t comment here as much as I used to — any criticism AT ALL throws certain people into liberal attack mode.

        • No Spartan, you said “an employer has a right to fire” then promptly going on to show how this employer didn’t based on the reasoning they gave.

          I think Zoltar’s confusion is fair.

          Noun articles matter.

          • Oh, for ^#%* sake. To repeat myself: “I think it goes without saying that if an employer legally can do it, then the employer had the right to do it. I thought that was a generally known concept, but I was an employment lawyer, so perhaps I am presuming knowledge where I should not be.”

            I should have just said — “Any employer can do whatever they want — as long as they don’t break the law — but SMART employers keep their mouths shut about WHY they did it so as not to draw attention to their STUPID reasoning.”

            • For what it’s worth, I understood you just fine, Sparty–the employer had the right to fire them, but also shouldn’t have. This was perfectly clear to me.

    • Didn’t Ronald Reagan fire a bunch of air traffic controllers for their strike/sick-out when they were informed in advance that their jobs were critical and this type of behavior was irresponsible and would not be tolerated? They stayed fired, and replacements found. The press was all over Reagan for this, but he was right, and the rest of the American public thought so, too.

      • The strikers also shot themselves in the foot. There was a news interview on one of the only news networks at the time (Nightly News cycle) talking to the wife of one of the strikers. She wore rind-stone glasses, as I recall.

        Anyway, she was whining about how they could not make ends meet, standing in her enormous house’s driveway with two expensive cars in the driveway, kids playing in the swimming pool in the back/side yard, in a very nice neighborhood. These folks were upper middle class at a minimum (if not moderately wealthy), is what the view said.

        It did not play well with middle America, given that most of the viewers would have gladly exchanged incomes and assets with the striker’s family.

        They lost all sympathy, and with it all political will to resist Reagan.

        Reagan was right, but my natural inclination was to not have the government intervene. That changed that night.

        Was this ethical on my part? Likely not. I got taken in with class envy, and judged without any real evidence of their lives. But like Nixon found out, that is the power of pictures over words.

    • An employer has a right to fire its employees if it is not for an illegal reason (race, gender, etc.), but the company’s excuse doesn’t pass muster. It had to fire them because of the time-sensitive nature of their jobs? Obviously, there isn’t much time sensitivity going on if the employer can easily fire 18 employees while fulfilling all those contracts.

      Nowhere does the company say they had to fire them. They fired them because the felt it was appropriate discipline for hanging the company out to dry, demonstrating that they have no respect or loyalty to it, and by breaking company rules, and blew off their perfectly reasonable ultimatum to come to work or be fired.

      If they hadn’t fired them considering all those facts, it would’ve been unethical. Not only would the company have been lying about the threat, but also demonstrated a lack of commitment to its own principles.

      Your comment is poorly judged.

      • “time sensitive” “very demanding schedule.” Yet, apparently not so time sensitive that they couldn’t take the hit of losing 18 employees at once.

        • Irrelevant. The company may choose to have loyal workers work overtime, as they probably had to during the unexpected absence, to compensate. But their justification is just as valid, if frankly unnecessary.

          The fact that they broke the terms of their employment agreement is sufficient, especially after being warned in advance.

        • As I understood the company’s words, they were referring to the time-sensitive nature of all their future contracts, not just the ones they had going on at the time.

          It’s a matter of honor (enforced order to maintain a functional system), which I understand is an unfamiliar concept to most Democrats. The company made a judgement call that it would rather be short-handed for a time than retain employees who unpredictably chose to abandon work. Better to have fewer employees and know that they’ll all show up for work. The company requires employees to be consistent and predictable (e.g. by requiring advance notice).

          The company is acting consistently with its values of consistency by firing inconsistent employees immediately rather than keeping them around because they’re mostly consistent. It sends a message that says, “don’t even bother applying if you’re going to pull stunts like this.”

          For this reason, the company accepted that it might have to pay overtime, or delay contracts and give customers discounts.

    • Spartan,
      Everything you’ve written about this has been nothing but a petty deflection trying to divert attention away from the actions of the employees and shift it to the employer. Well screw that nonsense! The employees were warned; the employees made their choice; the employees lost their gamble; the company did nothing wrong and their statement was just fine.

      What doesn’t pass muster is your petty deflection; honestly Spartan, you’re making yourself look foolish with this one.

    • The excuse makes perfect sense if you understand hierarchy, loyalty, and discipline.

      The employer essentially acquiesces to a type of hostage situation if they say “we’ll tolerate your insubordination because you are too essential”. It’s like saying “I’ll tolerate the spreading cancer in my arm, because my arm is essential”.

      No, you cut out the cancer because it will kill the body.

      You toss the insubordinate saboteurs because their ultimate success would render any contracts moot anyway as you’d be out of business if you catered to every capricious whim of grandstanding types like that.

  9. I agree that the company could have fired the protesting employees. However, the company’s response included this mind-bogglingly infuriating throw-away line:

    “Established in 1986, BCI has always celebrated diversity and supported the immigrant community.”

    Superfluous tipping-of-the-hat to the protest du jour dilutes the company’s actions. And, frankly, it should have terminated them, replaced them, and moved on. Why the need for an official company position? What, if anything, does BCI’s commitment to diversity and the immigrant community have to do with the company’s decision to fire striking employees? The company’s commitment to diversity and immigrants won’t change the fact that the company will now be the subject of more protests by that very same diversely immigrant community that demanded the strike.

    As for the protest, I have to say that is resulted in a big, fat, hairy zero. I had to go to court on Thursday, which necessitated getting lunch before the hearing, driving to the courthouse, parking my car, going through security, entering the courtroom, presenting my case, obtaining a satisfactory result, leaving the courtroom, going back to my car, and returning to the office. Let’s check what happened, considering that the US is a country of immigrants, going all the way back to the end of the most recent ice age>

    1. Driving to court. That entailed having been at my office for about 4 hours. The car started, I dropped my son off at school, arrived at office, and took the elevator to the 7th floor. Oddly, everything functioned as it should (except the elevator – it has been broken for 2 weeks and the office manager won’t order the part the elevator company needs to fix it [it’s a long, boring story . . .]). My copy machine also worked (it’s a Toshiba), which made me happy.

    2. I left my office early (see comment about the busted elevator). Traffic flowed, traffic lights functioned, and the streets were in n(relatively) good repair. The parking garage’s machine worked, too, especially my parking card. See, I figured out a long time ago that I was spending too much on daily parking and a monthly fee was cheaper and more efficient. So, I placed my parking card on the reader, and lo-and-behold, it worked (it is made by a Chinese company). I don’t take the parking garage elevator because if is disgusting so I walk up the stairs (100 of them). To my surprise, they worked, too.

    3. The courthouse elevator worked, this time spectacularly well. I pressed the “Up” button and a door opened. I exited the sixth floor and walked around the corner to Courtroom 600, where I was greeted by the courtroom deputy, who just happens to be from Manila, Philippines (and very pleasant, I might add; I also saw the Judge’s main law clerk, who is Vietnamese and very bright – I have had a crush on her for a while, but don’t tell my wife). The Judge was most accommodating and granted a brief continuance to allow the parties a little extra time because a settlement is close. He was most cordial, too, especially considering that he is an immigrant – he’s from Austin, TX, and we all know about those Austinites . . .

    4. Now, remember how I said I drove to the courthouse after eating lunch? Get this: I drive a Volvo, and I ate at a taquería near the courthouse. Fully staffed the taquería, and Guillermo and I traded pleasant barbs. By the way, their tacos al carbon are ridiculous.

    5. The trip back to the office was uneventful. Once at the office, I finished my stuff and was really happy to learn that my immigrant copy machine was still functioning properly. I packaged my responses and set them out for the Post Office person to take them away, which oddly happened just at is did the day before.

    6. I got home at 8:00, after I picked up my son from his swim team practice, whose main coach is from Guatemala, and the owner of the team is from Kuala Lumpur (I don’t ask because he scaring the hell out of me. ..). We prepared dinner and waited for my wife to come home from a dental conference.

    All of this is to say that the protest had absolutely no effect or impact on my world. The protest made no lasting impact on Houston life.

    • Interesting. The protest did have an impact on my work day–I was missing about four students from each class whom I’m fairly certain were gone for the protest. Of course, I also had about four others for each class who were gone on an ag trip, and another couple who were out sick. This meant I put off the reading we were going to do, since the students do not have take-home copies of our book, and I didn’t want the missing students to get too far behind. I hear the local high school was missing over a couple hundred students.

  10. The idea that protest comes with consequence seems to be lost on some.

    Anyone who missed work for this protest, without getting reassurance from their boss that their job was secure, was taking the risk that they would be fired. That is a logical risk if you refuse to show up for work. Were I an employer, I would like to think I would make an exception for acts of protest, even if I didn’t agree with the protest in question. But 24 hours is very short notice, and the Day without an Immigrant has been scheduled for quite some time.

    I won’t celebrate this employer’s decision, but I’m not about to join other liberals in a knee-jerk condemnation of it either. Protest comes with risk.

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