Employees of a Nebraska plastics company might feel honored that President Bush (search) has chosen their plant as a setting for a speech tomorrow. But if they take time off to hear it, they'll have to make it up.

The Airlite Plastics Company has told its employees they have four choices on Monday. They can work their regular shift in an adjacent plant not visited by the president, take the day off and make up the work on Saturday, use one of their vacation days, or take an unpaid day off.

The company added the vacation option after the Omaha World-Herald reported that at least one employee complained about having to take an unpaid day off or make up the work to see the president.

Bush-whacked: Pay to stay, or no way?

A sample of your responses:

These workers at the plastic plant have a choice. If they like the President the workers will not complain. The workers that don't like him will. Its all about people wanting pay for nothing. I myself would consider it an honor to meet him so making up one day is no big Deal. No such thing as a free lunch.
Todd
Louisville, KY

As soon as the company would make the announcement of the free time, they'd have a dozen employees say, "I don't like George W. so I want the same amount of paid time off the job as personal time to do something else." They should not be paid to watch the President, after all Lauren did say 'it's a privilege to be there to see the President'.  However, they should not be forced attend on their own time.  If they don't want to watch him, they should be allowed to leave and make up the time later.   Besides that, you have no idea of the financial condition of their business or the status of their orders and production schedule.  Free advertising?  How many orders do you really think they'll get because of the publicity?
Mary S.
Amherst, NY

It doesn't matter what someone in California, Florida, Texas, New York or anywhere else thinks about the President's visit to that plastics plant.  All that matters is what the employees at the plant think.  I want to know how they feel about it.
Carol K.
Stone Mountain, GA

I think it all depends on the amount of production due. Lets not forget that a shift and a half means a lot of production. If you are behind already then you can't afford to get further behind. The factory is the beginning of it all. Explain to your distributors, and they to their catalog sales or stores, and they to the customer, that we are sorry it is late or backordered, BUT WE GOT TO SEE THE PRES. OF THE USA! It is all about how behind or ahead they are.
Frank D.
Notasulga, AL

I live in Nebraska. I believe that taking the strong mid-western work ethic a bit too far. With all the FREE PR, I believe paying the employees would be the cheapest way to go for that company. I sure wish I could see President Bush and hear him speak!
Irene S.
Papillion, NE

Many of the Midwest's blue collar workers lean to the left.  I believe this is the plastic company's way to insure President Bush a supportive, Republican audience.
Ron
Bettendorf, IA

The only way you could get me to watch that idiot fumble through a speech would be to pay me to listen.
J. Mason

You're being unfairly harsh on the management of the plastic's plant. Plastic manufacturing is a "continous process" which means 24/7. It can not be stopped. If you stop the process the plastic will harden in the equipment and it would probably be easier to build a new plant than clean up the mess.
John W.
Manquin, VA

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