On Tuesday, Donald Trump gave a speech to the employees at Royal Dutch Shell’s petrochemical plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the largest construction site in the state. An estimated 5,000 workers attended, and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette they were free to choose between hear the president's speech or not getting paid for the day.
Per the Post-Gazette:
"Your attendance is not mandatory," said the rules that one contractor relayed to employees, summarizing points from a memo that Shell sent to union leaders a day ahead of the visit to the $6 billion construction site. But only those who showed up at 7 a.m., scanned their ID cards, and prepared to stand for hours—through lunch but without lunch—would be paid."NO SCAN, NO PAY," a supervisor for that contractor wrote.
According to the Post-Gazette, any employee who chose not to come would receive an "excused but unpaid" absence, and would not qualify for overtime that week. A Shell spokesman explained to the paper that employees have a 56-hour work week with 16 hours of overtime built in, and missing a day of work would disqualify them from receiving time-and-a-half pay for those 16 hours, effectively costing them even more money than the lost day to skip the Trump speech.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith rejected that characterization in comments to Newsweek, saying employees who didn't attend Trump's speech would "take paid time off," and that the event "was treated as a training (work day)" that featured "a guest speaker who happened to be the President." Paid time off also does not count toward hours for overtime pay.
According to the Post-Gazette, more than a dozen unions have workers at the shell site, and the memo they received warned,"No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions." Trump told the workers in attendance that if their union leaders didn't support him, they should "vote them the hell out of office because they’re not doing their job."
A 39-year-old Montana man assaulted a 13-year-old boy for not taking his hat off during the national anthem because of Trump's "rhetoric," according to his attorney.
Originally Appeared on GQ