Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Employers fired more than 100 people in the United States for skipping work for the "A Day Without Immigrants" protest.
Organizers of the protest said its goal was to demonstrate the role immigrants play in society and persuade lawmakers to push back against President Donald Trump's hard-line stance on immigration. Some immigrants in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and Albuquerque, as well as in other cities, stayed home from work and school, and did not spend money on Wednesday.
In Tennessee, the Bradley Coatings Inc. on Thursday told 18 employees they no longer had jobs at the company after they participated in the protest.
"We are the team leaders directly under the supervisors, and they informed us last night that we could not go back to work and the boss said we were fired," one employee told WTVF. "I would tell him that he was unfair, after working for them for so many years."
The employees who skipped work said they told their employer they would make up for the lost day on a Sunday.
In a statement, Bradley Coatings Inc. said it fired the employees because they were previously warned to show up for work or be fired because the company "provides commercial painting services to its clients on a very demanding schedule."
"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," Bradley Coatings Inc. said in a statement. "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."
At Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers in Long Island, N.Y., 25 employees were fired on Friday when they returned to work. Many of the employees were undocumented immigrants who worked there for years. Police escorted the former employees out of the facility.
In South Carolina, 21 employees were fired from a boat manufacturing company. In Florida, six day care workers were fired after failing to report to work.
In Oklahoma, 12 workers were fired from a restaurant, which already posted job listings seeking replacements. Bill McNally, the owner of the I Don't Care Bar and Grill, said the workers were fired because they did not call ahead of time to say they would not attend.
"I'm on their side but we have rules," McNally said. "If you're going to be late call in. If you're not coming to work call us. That's the American way."
In Denver, 30 workers for JVS Masonry were fired.
"I have no view on immigration laws or anything going on with that. All I know is I have a business to run," JVS Masonry owner Jim Serowski told KDVR.