After Mark Zuckerberg decided he didn’t want to drag his social network down into the political pig-wrestling pit any further than it already was by leaving Donald Trump’s posts up, some of his liberal employees were upset. But what do you do to “punish” one of the richest men in the world who also happens to be your boss? They arranged a walkout to protest the decision. It’s a tactic that’s been used by other workers over the years, sometimes to reasonable effect. But this story gets far stranger than it first appears as soon as you look into the details. (NY Post)
Working from home didn’t stop dozens of Facebook employees from conducting a virtual walkout in protest of Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebookers went on rival social network Twitter to announce that they were protesting the company’s policy of leaving Trump’s posts alone, arguing that they violate Facebook’s rule against “language that incites or facilitates serious violence.” …
The protest came after dozens of Facebook employees over the weekend blasted their employer on Twitter, with many specifically singling out founder and CEO Zuckerberg.
Wait a minute. These people were all working from home. How do you arrange a “walkout” when you never “walked in” to begin with? I suppose they could just log off of their work accounts and refuse to do their jobs. Was that what they did?
Nope. Making this even more of a farce, the report indicates that the workers did this “by requesting paid time off in Facebook’s systems and changing their out-of-office email response to say they were unavailable.” In other words, they requested a paid day of vacation that they had coming anyway, had it approved by their supervisors and spent their newly granted free time kvetching about their boss on Twitter. Or you could just say that it was another day ending in a Y for a fair chunk of the country.
Every major employer that provides any sort of benefits to its employees plans for workers missing time for vacations, sick days and personal days. It’s all baked into the cake. So the net effect on Facebook from a few dozen coders using their scheduled and approved personal time for a single day was absolutely nothing.
But that doesn’t mean that actions might not still have consequences. Taking a day off is fine, but trashing your boss in public and using one of his competitor’s social media platforms to do it is a bad look. It might put Mr. Zuckerberg in the mood to look for some new workers that are more dedicated to their professions and helping advance the interests of their employer. An internal memo questioning the policy being generated and sent up the management chain probably would have been far more effective and less offensive.
Just as a reminder, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and a shutdown that has put tens of millions of people out of work. I’m sure there are any number of them who would jump at the chance to land a position at Facebook. Any claims of wrongful termination or the alleged stifling of their rights to free speech would be laughed out of court. And I get the impression that Zuckerberg wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
Perhaps an even worse fate would be for Zuckerberg to simply ignore them completely and get on with making billions of dollars. It’s a simple question of mind over matter. He doesn’t mind, so you don’t matter.