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Pennsylvania Workers Docked Pay for Not Attending Trump Speech

August 22, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

MONACA, Pa.—Workers building a Royal Dutch Shell petrochemical plant were warned that their pay would be docked if they didn’t show up for President Donald Trump’s Aug. 16 speech at the site, according to a memo obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sent to union leaders by contractors at the site in the Beaver County industrial area northwest of Pittsburgh, it said attendance was “not mandatory,” but workers whose ID cards hadn’t been scanned in wouldn’t get paid for the day. It also warned that “no yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated.” Shell said that those who didn’t come would have an excused but unpaid absence, and also would not meet the threshold for overtime pay that week. “This is just what Shell wanted to do, and we went along with it,” said Ken Broadbent, business manager for Steamfitters Local 449, which has 2,400 workers on the site. “We’re glad to have the jobs…. The president is the president whether we like him or dislike him.” Other union leaders said they had not been consulted. Trump told the workers that if their union leaders didn’t support him, “vote them the hell out of office.”

August 22, 2019

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