Oklahoma Restaurant Criticized for Firing Workers Who Participated in ‘Day Without Immigrants’
Foreign-born protestors wanted to draw attention to an important issue on the “Day Without Immigrants” mass walkout last week. But for many, all that happened was that by the next day they were out of a job. Although dozens of restaurateurs and chefs expressed their support for the foreign-born employees, others warned that the protesters could face termination if they participated.
According to the National Labor Relations Board, the Day Without Immigrants protests are not protected under labor laws, because technically federal immigration policies are not directly related to labor relations.
The day after the Feb. 16th protest, 12 line cooks at the I Don't Care Bar and Grill in Catoosa, Oklahoma, near Tulsa, were fired because they failed to give their employer notice of their absence. He fired them by text message, according to Raw Story.
"I'm on their side, but we have rules at I Don't Care Bar and Grill," owner Bill McNally told CNN. "If you're going to be late, call in. If you're not coming to work, call us. That's the American way."
This in turn, sparked outrage and calls to boycott the restaurant.
— Liberty Peace Love (@LuvLibertyPeace) February 18, 2017
Boycott "Don’t Care Bar and Grill" restaurant in Catoosa, Oklahoma. They fired Latino workers for participation in Day Without Immigrant.
— Neal Zephyrin (@nzephyrin) February 18, 2017
Initial reports indicated that a number of restaurants had similarly let protesters go. Six employees were said to have been terminated at Bahama Breeze in the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, but the owners say that nobody was fired. Carmen Guerrero, an immigration activist, told Fox News that they were let go, but then were all rehired “to make it look like nothing happened.”
Reports of 25 employees being fired at Ben's Kosher Delicatessen on Long Island were found to be untrue. Owner Ronnie Dragoon told CNN that only one employee was terminated — the person who organized the protests among employees — and that was because he physically threatened his colleagues if they did not walk out.
“I am the grandchild of immigrants, and I have been a progressive my entire life and will continue to be a progressive,” Dragoon told CNN.