A nationwide protest, called “A Day Without Immigrants,” is expected to take place tomorrow, February 16, 2017, in response to recent moves by President Trump aimed at combatting problems related to illegal immigration. The boycott expected to take place on Thursday calls for immigrants to not attend work, open their businesses, spend money, or even send their kids to classes.
Some groups supporting the strike warn that it may be a “soft launch” for a larger strike being organized for May 1, 2017 (link). A similar strike took place on Monday, February 13, 2017 in Wisconsin, called “A Day Without Latinos.” Thousands of people marched in Milwaukee and 150 businesses closed for the day.
In response to tomorrow’s planned protest, an increasing number of employers across the country have decided to close for the day in a show of solidarity with their immigrant workers. Employers who do not intend to shut down for the day and who have large numbers of immigrant workers should be prepared for the possibility that many employees will not show up to work tomorrow.
Employers should tread carefully in how they respond to workers who do not show to work. Both the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (“ALRB”) will likely view workers who stay home in support of the protest as having engaged in protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (“ALRA”), respectively. These workers will likely be treated similar to economic strikers, who under both laws, are entitled to reinstatement when they return to work from a strike.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
It is unclear how many immigrant workers will stay home tomorrow. However, the protest seems to be gaining steam quickly. Therefore, employers should be prepared to close for the day if sufficient numbers of their workforce fail to report to work. Additionally, it is critical that employers not discipline or terminate any workers who announce their intention to participate in the planned protest by staying home tomorrow. If you have any questions about tomorrow’s protest, please feel free to contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.