Students absent, customers sparse
AVON ” School desks were empty, construction sites were quiet and businesses were shuttered Monday, all in an attempt to show the impact that immigrants have in Eagle County.
Organizers asked immigrants not to buy anything, not to send their kids to school and not to attend work Monday for the national “Day Without Immigrants.”
At Edwards Elementary School, 260 students were absent Monday of the 460 students attend the school, said Assistant Principal Mel Preusser. Almost all of the students were absent with approval, Preusser said.
The school district allowed students to take part in the demonstration as long as they had approval from a parent. “If this is an opportunity for students to learn about these issues, this is their way to get involved in the political process in this country,” Preusser said.
Avon Elementary School had some classes with only three or five students, said Principal Barbara Collins.
Berry Creek Middle School Principal Dianna Hulbert said she approved many absences for Monday.
“I felt like a movie star I was signing my autograph so much last week,” she said.
Angel Stahly, who works at Stop and Save gas station and convenience store in Edwards, said business was slower Monday. Many of the store’s customers are immigrants, she said.
“Our busy times definitely weren’t as busy,” she said.
A manager at Wal-Mart deferred comment to the company’s headquarters in Arkansas. But one Wal-Mart patron said the box store seemed be less busy than normal.
“It did kind of feel like it was,” said Billie Morgan of Eagle as she was loading her purchases into her car. “It seems real quiet in there.”
Michelle Willyard, project engineer for Shaw Construction for the Vail Plaza Hotel construction site in Vail Village, said there are only about 90 workers on site Monday instead of the normal 150.
The absent workers are employed by subcontractors, she said. They didn’t ask for permission from Shaw Construction to take the day off, she said.
“We all kind of understood that they wouldn’t show up,” she said.
There could be repercussions for the subcontractors if they are not able to meet construction timelines, she said.
Lisa Lopez, manager at Pazzo’s in Avon, said four immigrant employees didn’t show up for work Monday. One of the owners of the store was working alone in the kitchen Monday morning.
Lopez said the absent workers could lose bonuses because they didn’t come to work.
“I think they should be at work today,” she said. “They should do it on their own time.”
Cindy Eskwith, whose husband owns South Forty Liquors in Edwards, said she was supportive of employees who wanted to participate.
“We’re a nation of immigrants,” she said. “I was ready to work open to close just so they could support their fellow immigrants.”
Dave Pease, general manager of the Vail Marriott, said the hotel’s work force wasn’t affected by the boycott.
“Everyone who is scheduled to be here is here today,” he said.
Local businesses that were closed Monday included Fiesta Jalisco, Carniceria Tepic and Taqueria No Se Hagan Bolas in Avon and Rancho Viejo in Edwards.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or email@example.com.
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