News Analysis

Seattle students and workers given a 'flex day' to be sad if Trump wins

Seattle area employees and students have been told by employers and school administrators to take the day after election day off as a "flex day" in preparation for a Trump victory.

Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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Seattle area employees and students have been told by employers and school administrators to take the day after election day off as a "flex day" in preparation for a Trump victory.

Though a President Trump re-elect was not mentioned specifically, an employee at tech giant Google reported that their team leaders suggested employees take the day off if they needed to cope with the results. An employee at a smaller Seattle tech company told The Post Millennial that the entire company was given the day after election day off so that they could have time to "process" the results. Similar stories have been reported by employees at many Seattle area companies including Amazon and Facebook.

Some area schools were given the day off for "...processing, reflection and reactions."

The behavior is reminiscent of the reactions to the Trump victory in 2016. Around the country, students, teachers and administrators turned to the tools of toddlers as a bizarre form of therapy in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Colleges and universities encouraged students to cry, cuddle with puppies and even sip hot chocolate to soothe their fragile psyches.

Cornell University hosted a "cry-in," complete with hot chocolate and tissues for disappointed Hillary Clinton supporters. University of Pennsylvania brought in puppies, kittens and coloring books for therapeutic cuddling. Tufts University held arts and crafts sessions for students.

University of Michigan Law School scheduled an event for this Friday called "Post-Election Self-Care With Food and Play" with "stress-busting self-care activities" including coloring, blowing bubbles, sculpting with Play-Doh and "positive card making."

Students at the University of Michigan held an evening vigil on campus, to mourn the results and some teachers even suspended classes on the assumption that students would be too upset to focus. One professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts recited the Jewish mourner's prayer, the Kaddish, for their students.

In September, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer was recorded saying the country's largest county would not reopen its schools for in person learning until "after the election."

"We don't realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or to reopening K-12 schools at least until after the election, in early November," Ferrer said in a conference call with school administrators and medical staff, a recording of which was played on KFI's "John and Ken Show."

According to Fox News, her comments led the California radio show hosts, who obtained the recording, to speculate about why she chose to use the general election instead of some other day like Halloween, as a target date, and whether the county health department and schools were trying to manipulate public opinion in favor of the Democrats.

Earlier this month, more than 6,400 Amazon workers signed a petition calling for election day to be a paid day off, according to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a worker activist group. On October 17, activists showed up near a deserted Amazon campus in downtown Seattle to protest the company's current policy and to register voters. Many questioned the goal, given that Washington elections are done entirely by mail, and that anyone can request an absentee ballot if they are in other states

Jaci Anderson, an Amazon spokesperson, told CBS News that workers could request extra time off if they needed it.

"We have supplied all of our employees with information on how to register to vote, details of their local polling locations and how to request time off to vote. In all 47 states with in-person voting, employees that lack adequate time before or after their scheduled work day to vote can request and be provided excused time off," she said, adding that the exact amount of time off varied depending on state law.

The company also noted that managers have been directed to approve time-off requests related to voting which seems to be relevant to the new allowances for time off following the election.

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