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Shell to Union Workers: Show Up for Trump or Else

Pennsylvania workers had to show up to get paid
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2019 10:45 AM CDT
People listens as President Donald Trump speaks at Shell's Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Monaca, Pa.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Union workers at a Pennsylvania petrochemical plant had two choices: Show up for President Trump's speech and get paid or skip the day and lose the pay, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Royal Dutch Shell explained it to union leaders in a memo, saying attendance was "not mandatory" at the Tuesday event, according to a contractor who summarized the memo—but only workers who scanned in at 7am and stood for hours without lunch would be compensated. "NO SCAN, NO PAY," wrote a supervisor. And those who didn't appear would lose overtime pay that's built into their 56-hour workweek. A union leader said a day's work might come to $700 in pay, benefits, and per diem for being out of town at the giant hall in Monaca, Pa.

"No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event," the supervisor added in the summary. "An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions." Ken Broadbent, a business manager for a steamfitters local, said that "this is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it." He also held no grudge against anyone who skipped: "This is America," he explained. Trump was warmly received but later took heat for turning the taxpayer-funded event into a kind of campaign rally, where he mulled canceling the 2020 election, badmouthed his opponents, and altered poll numbers, per Vox. He also took credit for the Shell plant, which was first announced by the Obama administration, Time reports. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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