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Big Texas Corporations Demand Storm Survivors Go Unpaid
The Washington Post / Mark Felix / GettyDALLAS: You first had to deal with the nightmare of a winter storm, a historic assault that wiped out your power, heat, water, or all three at once. Now they have to deal with bosses who deny them Internal company emails and text messages obtained by The Daily Beast indicate that dozens of employers in Texas, many of them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have told people they were unable to go to work or work remotely due to loss of electricity. during winter storm Uri, they must consider the days lost as vacation or else leave without pay. These are not small businesses either. Several large companies are among them, such as Bell Textron Inc., formerly known as Bell Helicopter, United Ag & Turf, BAE Systems, and the city of Dallas, and the workers are furious. ‘People Are Greedy’: The Absurd Electric Bills Slamming Texans “We are required to use vacation on storm days when I had no heat or WiFi, or I could lose money and not get paid,” said a Bell Helicopter employee. , who, like other workers cited in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, told The Daily Beast. “I am disappointed and nervous for the next year,” said the worker, adding: “Even though I am salaried, I am at the entry level, and any hitting my income will leave me on the streets, and that is scary.” Representatives for Bell did not return a call or email requesting comment, but emails sent by management and reviewed by The Daily Beast made the policy clear. “Employees who cannot fully devote their time and attention to company business due to current c Conditions must use available PTO, vacation or holiday flex time if they want to be paid today. Otherwise, employees who do not have PTO time off, vacation or holidays remaining or who do not wish to use their time off from PTO, vacation or holidays will not receive payment today, ”reads an email sent last week by Bell’s executive management. The worker told the Daily Beast that the Bell were closed for the entire week, but at one point they were unable to access the VPN, a “virtual private network” that allows them to access the company’s systems, which That means many Bell employees were unable to ‘Work from home even when they have electricity. Executives at United Ag & Turf, a John Deere equipment dealer, and managers at BAE Systems, a British multinational arms, security and aerospace company, sent similar messages. But they also allowed employees to effectively borrow paid time off, which would come out of their future allowances or pay, according to emails reviewed by The Daily Beast. Some employees did not appreciate the offer. “[I] I felt that people should know. It’s not right, ”a BAE Systems employee told The Daily Beast. A BAE Systems spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “As a government contractor, there are regulations that we must follow for the work that our employees charge. The events of the past week are unusual and we are working with employees on how to properly handle the time when they were unable to work. In addition, we activated our Immediate Response Program to support our colleagues and provide financial assistance to affected employees and their families. ” United Ag & Turf employees, meanwhile. They were even told that they should take responsibility for maintaining a balance of free time in case such events occurred in the future. This despite the fact that Winter Storm Uri and the associated power crisis is “the largest insurance claim event in Texas history.” “To be prepared for circumstances like these in the future, each employee is expected to manage their PTO and are encouraged to always keep a balance for unexpected situations such as health problems and bad weather. This type of assistance will not be offered in the future. “An email from United Ag & Turf executive management reads. United Ag & Turf did not respond to a request for comment.” I feel angry. They could have said nothing and be fine. They could have paid people for the canceled days and they looked like heroes. Instead, they chose to add insult to injury, ”said a United Ag & Turf worker. For-profit employers aren’t the only ones who have told their employees to use vacation time. Even some government employees have been affected: An email sent to the City of Dallas library department told employees to use personal leave time for missed work. The accuracy of the email was confirmed by a member of the Dallas City Council, Adam Bazaldua, as well as the city’s communications representative, Catherine Cuellar. “It’s really heartbreaking that HR (who have worked entirely from home for the past year, by the way)” This is a crazy nightmare ‘: Mom recounts the last moments with her 3 children who died in a power outage in Texas “Said a city employee. Outside, they can” make up time within the pay period “or request an emergency paid administrative leave.” No one can ‘just decide’ anything; we have processes and levels of responsibility for taxpayers’ money, “he said. It becomes a question at the federal government level whether or not the payment of the worker’s emergency administrative pay was a necessary expense during the meteorological event,” he added. Cuellar. When asked if the policy could be changed to cover all employees, Cuellar said things would be handled on a case-by-case basis. Austin Kaplan, an Austin-based employment attorney, described these situations as a consequence of a lack of adequate workplace protections in a state with notoriously weak protections for workers. “There is no requirement in Texas that people pay for vacation time. There’s just no safety net, or anything like that, “Kaplan told the Daily Beast. This means that employers must decide how to handle the consequences. Some, like Cisco, not only paid their employees for lost days, but also offered shelter offices and sent resources for mental health support, but they seem to be in the minority. And without any clear sign that the government is taking action, the governor. Greg Abbott has hinted at relief for workers facing sky-high electric bills, but little else: They seem to be alone. “In my opinion, the state that shut down the power grid should be the one paying,” Kaplan said. . Read more at The Daily Beast. Do you have a tip? Submit to The Daily Beast here Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Beast Daily Membership: Beast Inside delves into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.