Workers in attendance at President Donald Trump’s rally at a Shell plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday were ordered not to protest or do “anything viewed as resistance” during the event.
That’s according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported late Friday on the strict instructions employees were given by their bosses ahead of the event.
“No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event,” read orders from one contractor. “An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”
According to the Post-Gazette, “Several union leaders said they were not consulted about the arrangement before it was sent out.”
Attendance at the rally was not mandatory, according to the Post-Gazette, but workers who opted not to show up lost out on a full day of pay.
As the Post-Gazette reported:
The choice for thousands of union workers at Royal Dutch Shell’s petrochemical plant in Beaver County was clear Tuesday: Either stand in a giant hall waiting for President Donald Trump to speak or take the day off with no pay.
“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 am, 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 Pennsylvania event was funded by taxpayers, and thus legally not supposed to be a campaign-style rally—but the president wasted no time making it exactly that.
During the event, Vox reported, “Trump used a slur to demean Sen. Elizabeth Warren, insulted former Vice President Joe Biden as ‘sleepy Joe,’ bragged about poll numbers that he inflated, took credit for legislation signed into law by his predecessor, urged union leaders to vote for him (‘and if they don’t, vote them the hell out of office’), and mused about canceling the 2020 election and serving as many as four terms.”
Critics were quick to denounce the reported orders against any protests as coercive and more befitting of a dictatorship than a democracy.
“Field reports from the Banana Republic of America,” tweeted Bloomberg’s Bobby Ghosh in response to the Post-Gazette‘s story.