Source: Dan Lyman
A man working for Newport News Shipbuilding has been fired after refusing to remove his Trump hat, according to reports.
Dave Sunderland, 55, says he has regularly worn pro-Trump caps during the brief walk from his car to the work site, before donning a hard hat for his shift as a pipefitter for the company, which deals almost exclusively in building and maintaining vessels for the U.S. Navy.
Recently, a supervisor from another department observed him wearing a ‘Trump 2020’ hat, the Daily Press reports.
“He said, ‘You can’t wear that,’” Sunderland said. “And I said, ‘I’ve been wearing it for four years.’”
The supervisor subsequently notified a foreman to give Sunderland a “direct order to remove his Trump 2020 hat,” under the company’s policy against ‘campaigning’ on the work site.
“I wasn’t campaigning,” Sunderland said. “I wore a ball cap. I wasn’t passing out bumper stickers. I wasn’t asking people to vote. I wasn’t doing anything, except for wearing a ball cap going to work.”
Sunderland was reportedly warned he would be fired if he did not take off the hat, which he acknowledged while standing his ground.
He was subsequently escorted from the grounds by security and suspended for three days.
Sunderland was then called to a meeting at the human resources office during which he was fired for “refusing to follow a supervisor’s instructions.”
A representative of the United Steelworkers union was reportedly present at the meeting but did not offer any defense of Sunderland.
Sunderland has worked at the shipyard since 2012 and says he has witnessed many colleagues wearing gear supporting Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even Black Lives Matter.
“I don’t have a problem with anything anybody wears,” Sunderland said. “That’s their First Amendment right to express themselves. You know, freedom of expression. That’s their right. But when I wore something, they came down on me.”
“They take away my freedom of expression, but they don’t for other folks.”
Sunderland says he has no regrets.
“This is the United States of America, and we have those rights, and I can find another job,” he said.
“Why should they take away my rights? I’m patriotic. I love this country… It’s a damn good place to be.”