The daily beast

Large Texas companies are demanding storm survivors without pay

The Washington Post / Mark Felix / GettyDALLAS – First they had to grapple with a winter storm nightmare, a historic assault that obliterated their power, heat, water, or all three at once. Now they have to face bosses who deny them Internal company emails and text messages from The Daily Beast indicate that dozens of employers in Texas, many in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have reported individuals who are due A power outage could not go to work or work remotely during the winter storm Uri that they have to regard the lost days as vacation or otherwise have to leave without pay. These aren’t small businesses either. Among them are several large companies including Bell Textron Inc. – formerly known as Bell Helicopter – United Ag & Turf, BAE Systems, and the city of Dallas itself. And the workers are seething. “People Are Greedy”: The Absurd Electric Bills Popping Texans “We have to go on vacation on the days of the storm when I had no heat or WiFi, or I can withhold the money and not get paid,” said a Bell Helicopter employee who, like other workers cited in this story, spoke under The Condition of Anonymity for fear of retaliation told The Daily Beast, “I am disappointed and nervous about the next year,” the worker said, adding, “Although I am paid, I am a beginner and everyone else When I knock on my income, I get put on the street – and that’s terrifying. “Bell representatives didn’t return a call or email asking for comment, but emails sent by management and reviewed by The Daily Beast made the policy clear:” Employees who don’t are able to devote their time and attention fully to corporate business, due to the current conditions c should use the available power take-off, vacation or vacation time if they want to be paid today. Otherwise, employees who do not have any remaining PTO, vacation or vacation flextime or who do not want to use their unused PTO, vacation or vacation flextime will not be paid today, ”said an email from last week Sent by Bell’s senior management staff told the Daily Beast that Bell facilities were closed all week but that at one point they could not access the VPN – a “virtual private network” that they use Enables access to corporate systems – which means that many employees at Bell couldn’t. They don’t work from home even when they have electricity. Executives at United Ag & Turf – a John Deere equipment dealer – and managers at BAE Systems – a UK multinational arms, security and aviation company – have sent similar messages. However, according to emails from The Daily Beast, employees were also effectively able to borrow paid time off that would result from their future grants or payment. Some employees did not appreciate the offer. “[I] I just felt like people should know. It’s not right, ”a BAE Systems official told The Daily Beast. A spokesperson for BAE Systems told The Daily Beast, “As a government contractor, we must comply with regulations on the manpower charged by our employees. The events of the past week are unusual and we are working with staff on how to deal with incapacity. We have also activated our Immediate Response Program to support our colleagues and provide financial support to affected employees and their families. “United Ag & Turf employees. They have even been told that they must take responsibility for maintaining a recreational balance should such events occur in the future. This is despite the winter storm Uri and the associated electricity crisis, which is “the greatest event for insurance claims in the history of Texas”. “In order to be prepared for such circumstances in the future, every employee is expected to manage their PTO and encourage them to always keep a balance between unexpected situations such as health problems and bad weather. This type of support will no longer be offered in the future, ”said an email from United Ag & Turf’s management. United Ag & Turf did not respond to a request for comment. “I’m angry. They couldn’t have said anything and they were fine. They could have paid people for the canceled days and looked like heroes. Instead, they chose to add insult to injury,” said one of the staff United Ag & Turf. Non-profit employers aren’t the only ones who have told their employees to take advantage of their vacation time. Even some government employees were affected: an email to the Dallas City Library Department instructed employees to take personal vacation time for lost work. The accuracy of the email was confirmed by a Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua and City Communications representative Catherine Cuellar. “It’s really disheartening that Human Resources (which incidentally last year worked exclusively from home) Just decide whether people get paid or not ht, “said a city worker.” This is a crazy nightmare “: Mother recounts the last few moments with her three children who died in Texas. In their free time, they can either” make up the time within the payment deadline “or take a paid administrative vacation request. “Nobody can“ only decide ”something; we have processes and levels of responsibility for taxpayers ‘money, “she said. At the federal level, the question arises whether or not paying workers’ wages during the weather event was a necessary expense,” added Cuellar. “This has been the city’s policy for a decade for weather-related emergency wages. When asked if the policy could be changed to cover all employees, Cuellar said things would be handled on a case-by-case basis. Augustin Kaplan, an Austin-based labor attorney, described these situations as the result of a lack of adequate occupational health and safety in a state with notoriously weak worker protections. “In Texas, there is no requirement that people pay vacation time at all. There’s just no safety net or anything, ”Kaplan told the Daily Beast. This means that it is entirely up to employers to decide how to deal with the consequences. Some, like Cisco, not only paid their employees for the lost days, but also offered offices as shelter and sent resources for mental health support. But it seems that they are in the minority. And without a clear sign that the government is taking action – Gov. Greg Abbott has hinted at relief for workers faced with sky-high utility bills, but little else – they seem to be on their own. “In my estimation, the state that shut down the electricity should be the one that pays,” Kaplan said Read More at The Daily Beast. Do you have a tip? Submit it to The Daily Beast here. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.