Thursday, February 16, 2017
Restaurant owner Esteban Gonzalez finds himself in an uncomfortable situation today.
Some of his immigrant employees told him Wednesday they might not be to work today.
They said they would be joining the “Day without Immigrants Boycott,” he said.
“I don’t want to be closed,” the Glez Restaurant owner said.
But it might just be him and his wife running their Yakima Valley Highway establishment.
“I know why they may choose not to be at work,” Gonzales said, “but I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, as a business man.”
Glez employees, as well as those at several local meat markets plan to be among the millions of immigrant workers from across the United States vowing to lose a day of work to bring attention to the contributions they make to the nation’s economy.
The “Day Without Immigrants” boycott is a response to President Donald Trump’s pledges to crack down on those in the country illegally, using “extreme vetting” and building a wall along the Mexican border.
The boycott encourages immigrants to not go to work, close their businesses and to not go to school. It also calls for avoiding shopping, buying gas and eating in restaurants.
The social media-organized protest aims to show the Trump Administration the impact immigrants have in the country, organizers said.
Flyers calling for the work boycott were distributed throughout the area.
Local social media sites have lit up as businesses like Sunnyside’s Carniceria La Mas Barata on North Sixth Street and El Sol Meat Market on Yakima Valley Highway announced closures.
“Many Hispanic businesses are posting on Facebook they will be closed,” Carrie Stone of Sunnyside said.
Stone said her father-in-law, who works on a ranch in Prosser said he wouldn’t be going to work in protest of the immigrant orders.
One reader said she had heard about the boycott, but thought it was only happening back east.
“The strike thing is part women’s rights, part anti-Trump immigration policies,” Marcelina Orteaga said. “Doesn’t sound very organized, and poor working people will lose a day’s pay.”
Sunnyside School District Superintendent Kevin McKay said he heard about the pending boycott yesterday through social media.
“A parent has the right to determine whether a student would be at school or not on a particular day… we wouldn’t treat it any differently than any other excused absence,” he said. “Employees can be absent from school. They have personal leave and can do what they choose.”
Classes are planned today, protest or no protest.
“School will go on, obviously if it’s bigger than we anticipate we’ll have to adjust,” McKay said.