Facebook Tells Employees They Can Protest Trump

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Facebook officials said they will not punish any employees who choose to take off work May 1 to protest President Donald Trump.

Pro-immigration groups, socialist organizations, labor unions, and hundreds of thousands of workers are planning to walk out on their jobs on International Workers Day.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a representative told Bloomberg. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

Facebook told staff about its policy April 14, specifically clarifying that no prior notification of leave is necessary. The social media company-turned-tech-conglomerate also notified workers that it would investigate any of its contractors to decipher if they inappropriately violate workers’ rights. (RELATED: DC Police Order Facebook Give Up Inauguration Protesters’ Social Media Data)

“It’s important not just to the engineers and H-1B holders that are traditionally thought of as the immigrants in tech but also to folks who are subcontracted but work side-by-side on those campuses,” said Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising, a union-backed coalition, according to Bloomberg. “Immigrants play a critical role in the tech sector — both as engineers and coders but also in keeping tech campuses running smoothly.”

Facebook, and the larger tech industry in general, have been quite outspoken with their displeasure over Trump’s work as president so far, especially the temporary immigration ban he implemented. (RELATED: Google Dumps Money Into Immigration Fight)

A Facebook executive announced in February that she helped organize a boycott of air travel as a means to protest the executive order mandating the immigration restrictions.

“Last Sunday, I felt heartbroken. And I decided that I had to do something,” Regina Dugan, vice president of engineering at Facebook, wrote on her social media profile, referring to the particular executive orders.

Dugan along with other Facebook employees and “citizen coders” formed a protest group called “nofly90,” in which participants reduce their flying by 10 percent, move or cancel one planned trip, or abstain all together.

“The recent protests have been inspiring and powerful. But it’s not enough for the White House to hear our voices; it must also hear the collective roar of our economic forces,” reads the boycott’s official page.

A number of other tech leaders publicly voiced their objection to the immigration ban, as well including higher-ups at Google, Airbnb, Twitter, Apple, Uber, Lyft, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (RELATED: Amazon CEO: We Are Exploring ‘Other Legal Options’ In Response To Trump’s Immigration Ban)

In fact, a consortium of 97 companies filed a legal brief at the time to oppose the Trump administration’s executive order.

The protest set for International Workers Day seems to be quite similar to the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, in which some immigrant workers walked out on their jobs in February.

Those demonstrations appeared to be significantly smaller in size compared to the Women’s March a month prior.

“Millions have marched and tens of thousands shut down airports. But Trump is not backing down. The time is ripe for an escalation of the resistance against Trump and his attacks on immigrants’, women’s, and workers’ rights,” the organization Socialist Alternative wrote on its website, calling for “mass protests and strikes across the country on May 1.”

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