Comcast employees get paid time off to protest (or support) Trump
PHILADELPHIA — One of the nation's largest telecommunications and media conglomerates is offering its employees paid time off to protest President Donald Trump.
A spokesman for Comcast said Wednesday that employees are free to use the time to to express any opinion they wish, whether they are for or against the president's policies.
“We understand that some of our employees are concerned and we respect their desire to express their opinions," spokesman John Demming said. Employees get time off for personal use.
Employees of Comcast are planning to walk out of the corporate headquarters at 2 p.m. Thursday to demonstrate against Trump's executive orders barring refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Comcast employees are also planning to demonstrate in Washington, D.C., New York and California.
Internal planning documents obtained by New Jersey 101.5 show that the employee demonstration is being supported by top corporate officials, including Chief Technology Officer Sree Kotay, who used the company's employee-communication platform to share a Washington Post opinion article comparing Trump to the late Venezuelan strongman president, Hugo Chavez.
The article cautions against "polarization" and advises that "a hissy fit is not a strategy."
"I appreciate your desire to express your views, as citizens, and I am #proud to join you tomorrow!" Kotay, who also is the executive vice president for Comcast Cable, said in another post.
Demming did not respond to Kotay's comments about Trump.
"Our primary focus is to make sure that all of our employees feel safe in their jobs, including while traveling," Demming said. "We have assured our employees that no one will be asked to travel to a place that would result in them feeling vulnerable in any way. And, we have enhanced our employee resources programs to help any concerned employee navigate through this matter.”
Other companies have reacted since Trump took office last month and issued a flurry of executive orders last week.
Starbucks, for example, has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years. Microsoft and Amazon are supporting a Washington state lawsuit over the immigration ban. Google's employees around the world staged a walk-out demonstration. And the CEOs of Netflix, Facebook and Airbnb also voiced their disappointment with Trump's orders.
In addition to its cable, internet and phone service under the Xfinity brand, Comcast owns NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission fined Comcast $2.3 million for overcharging customers.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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