March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year that day will be accompanied by the opportunity for women to take part in a nationwide protest called “A Day Without Women.” It is being organized by the people who put together the amazing “Women’s March” that inspired and encouraged so many of us. On the website, it says that…
“Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:
- Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
- Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
- Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman
Here is a GOOD EXPLANATION of what is happening. I haven’t seen the same level of solidarity and enthusiasm that I saw in the lead up to the Women’s March. There are probably a lot of reasons for that… I think there is some confusion about what exactly is happening, and I think some people are concerned that it would only be “A Day Without Privileged Women,” but I think there is also a bit of fear involved as well. Many of us have never really even SEEN a real strike… One where people decide to not go into work… One where the people striking have DEMANDS. Showing up to march on a day off is simply not as big of a commitment as deciding to NOT SHOW UP TO WORK, and maybe even risk getting disciplined or fired.
Now, I am a man… So this isn’t my thing. I can stand in solidarity with women as they stand up for their rights, and protest, and flex their economic muscles to remind the world how truly powerful they are–ESPECIALLY when they are standing together. As a man, I will definitely be wearing red on March 8th to show my support as well. And as a man, I certainly don’t want to tell women how to do their protests… I am reminded of the strength and self-sufficiency of women on a daily basis (you’d understand this if you know my wife). Still, I have an idea. And this is my blog, so I’m going to share it. I’m okay with that, and I hope you are too. I have been published in Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices” and Huffington Post’s “Black Voices,” and I am neither of those things. I am lending my straight, white male voice to people who might not experience the same privilege that I do. Anyway, that being said…
On February 16th of this year, there was another nationwide “Day Without” protest that took place… It was “A Day Without Immigrants.” In Nolensville, TN (just outside of Nashville, where I live), there is a company called Bradley Coatings, Inc. that made national news when they fired EIGHTEEN OF THEIR EMPLOYEES after they took part in the “Day Without Immigrants” protest (This is not to be confused with Bradley Coatings Group in Gibsonia, PA, who received so many calls that they put a disclaimer on their website that said, “IMPORTANT NOTICE: WE HAVE NOT FIRED EIGHTEEN EMPLOYEES FOR PARTICIPATING IN A PROTEST! WE ARE BRADLEY COATINGS GROUP – LOCATED IN GIBSONIA, PENNSYLVANIA – AND ARE IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH BRADLEY COATINGS INC. OF NOLENSVILLE, TENNESSEE.”). It seems that nationwide, there were about 100 workers fired for taking part in the Day Without Immigrants… Eighteen of those workers were from Bradley Coatings. One of the fired employees gave this statement as a message to his former boss:
“I would tell him he was unfair, after working for them for so many years, giving him our best. They could not understand that it was just one day. We were going to make up that day on a Sunday, but they didn’t understand that, and it was not the best way. They didn’t give us an opportunity and just told us we were fired.”
So think about this for a second… Bradley Coatings is not a giant business. They have somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 employees and an annual revenue of about $4.6 million. In a town of just over 9,000 people (where only about 2.7% of them are Hispanic), a small business relied so heavily on immigrant workers that–when there was a day to show people how important immigrants are to local businesses–this company ended up firing ALMOST HALF its workforce. And there might have been some Hispanic workers who DIDN’T take part in the strike. There are many painting businesses in the Nashville area, and almost all of them rely on immigrant workers to do the actual WORK of painting. They are the bodies who are laboring so that people pay them money, so that Brad Williams (President) can pay the salary of the standoffish lady who answered the phone when I called… And ended up hanging up on me when I asked to speak with someone who COULD answer any of my questions about whether they had rehired their workers.
Just to recap…
- Only 2.7% of the people in Nolensville, TN are Hispanic
- Nearly HALF of Bradley Coatings, Inc’s workforce are Hispanic
- Eighteen of these employees took part in the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, to show how integral immigrants are to area businesses.
- Bradley Coatings responded by firing all 18 workers.
So maybe you are a woman who is taking part in the Day Without Women strike and protests… Maybe you are a man who is supporting them… Maybe the thought of “striking” and not going into work makes you feel nervous because you really need to keep your job… Maybe you feel disconnected because the ones who can afford to take a day off probably are in a position where they can do so without a whole lot of risk, and more vulnerable women won’t be able to take part because of economic insecurity… Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom, and you taking a day off only “affects” your kids… Maybe you just have a weird feeling about the whole thing… But whatever your deal is, you CAN choose to lend YOUR voice to these 18 immigrant workers who were fired for taking part in a movement that asserted their own worth.
There are a few ways which you can lend your voice to these workers.
- You can call Bradley Coatings at 615-776-1910, and you can tell them to do the right thing: Hire these immigrant workers back, and compensate them for lost wages. Seriously… We can inundate their phone lines with demands for justice.
- If you are a business owner who needs a painter, you can let Bradley Coatings (as well as their president, Brad Williams) know that the reason you are not considering them for the job is because you are disgusted at the treatment of their immigrant workers, who are the lifeblood of their business.
- You can put pressure on the businesses who deal with Bradley Coatings, Inc. and let them know that they are dealing with a callous company who does not value their immigrant employees.
- You can organize a protest outside of their address at 7222 Haley Industrial Dr
Nolensville, TN 37135 like these awesome people did.
These protests, the Women’s March, this Day Without Women… they are so important to this country. If you are a woman showing your strength during the Day Without Women (or if you are a man like me who is so inspired by that strength) and you are looking for a place to flex your collective muscles, maybe spend some time standing against this clear injustice, and stand along side these 18 immigrants who lost their jobs.
If you know of other companies who fired their immigrant workers who need to be reminded the difference between right and wrong, maybe put their info in the comments. ALSO, if you want to help support this blog, you can totally do that. You can BE A PATRON. You can leave a tip on PayPal. You can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. You can just share this post with the people in your life. Or you can keep calling Bradley Coatings at 615-776-1910 until they decide that firing these workers isn’t worth the headache and the financial loss. We are NOT powerless. Together, we are strong.