CNN has a story up on their website headlined “Workers had 3 options: Attend Trump’s speech, use paid time off or receive no pay.” The first paragraph reads:
Workers at the Pennsylvania petrochemical plant where President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday were told that if they didn’t attend the event, they either had to use paid time off or receive no pay for the day.
This headline and lede are at best misleading, and at worst, designed to feed the rage machine. I tend to believe the worst, myself.
Let’s unpack this like the Babylon Bee correcting Snopes, shall we?
First, the plant where Trump spoke isn’t finished. That’s right, it’s not operating at all. The workers who heard the speech were building the plant. They are mostly construction workers. And they DID get paid, as long as they followed the rules.
“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.“Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up – and not getting paid” Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, August 16, 2019
I don’t know if you’ve ever attended a presidential speech, but if you have, you understand that the Secret Service doesn’t do anyone any favors. You are on the list, you show up, you are scanned, you wait, you go through security. This is true for everyone, even the media. The workers did get paid for going to the speech, because the speech was at WHERE THEY WORK.
If they chose to take a day off and NOT GO TO WORK, they could take a paid day off, or take unpaid leave. That’s pretty much how things work at EVERY CONSTRUCTION SITE IN AMERICA, if not the free world.
Workers who take PTO know that PTO doesn’t apply toward overtime. If you work 39 1/2 hours and take 8 hours of PTO, that doesn’t add up to 47 1/2 hours, with 7 1/2 hours paid in overtime. That is, again, basically true everywhere. It’s the law.
Second, this speech was not a campaign speech. The workers were not being paid to attend, or given the option to not attend, a campaign speech. They were being paid to attend an official speech by the President of the United States. Every president travels around the country giving speeches, not just Trump.
Were this Barack Obama giving a speech at, say, a high school in Kansas, you wouldn’t see the media carping about the teacher’s union forcing teachers to attend or take time off. Here’s a convenient list of all the official speeches Barack Obama gave: help yourself. See how many were made at places where people worked, and how many of those workers got paid for staying home.
The entire media handling of this speech was nothing but fodder for left-wing advocacy which CNN gladly spread. The story, without the dramatic advocacy and bias would be this: construction workers got paid to stand around and listen to a speech by the President, if they chose to come to work.
CNN published fake news.