This member of the NPR crowd has plenty of experience in low wage jobs and still thinks it's a good idea to stand up for basic human rights. If people can't get the time off or can't afford it, I haven't heard any criticism.
I've never worked a job where I could just not show up with no notice, I don't think that's special to low paying jobs. Are you trying to argue that NPR listeners are somehow tricking those stupid immigrants to not show up for work without notice and therefore get fired? What a heartless , evil bunch we must be.
Hardly - I doubt the peon classes would be listening to NPR. At least, my "stupid immigrant" relatives never did, nor did most of my neighbors when we lived in the low-rent, low-education districts. The H1B crowd might be a different story. But typically there's not a lot of social mixing between the H1Bs & middle/upper-class America and the lower-wage/lower-ed folks. So the opportunity to proselytize is pretty much not there unless one makes a significant effort to create that opportunity.
I work on a University campus and have seen several instances of students (and some faculty) trying to get "grass roots" political efforts set up with some of my lower-income, less-educated brethren. While done with the best of intentions, when it blows up, it's not the do-gooders who get burned.
Some news outlets here are whining on about how so many people who took part in the day-off have been summarily fired by their employers as if it's awful. No, it's not awful - it's business. Business isn't about "human rights," it's about profit and loss. Same with the McDonalds' clerks marching for $15 an hour as a "living wage". Micky D's will automate to keep their costs down - nobody's going to pay for a hamburger what it would take to cover the cost of a $15 "living wage" for a burger-flipper. It would price the burgers out of their budgets. (Actually, several of my colleagues who earn minimally more than that after having invested in several university degrees go almost apoplectic at the thought, on principle.) Marching and chanting for higher wages for flipping burgers, if it makes them feel better, is all well and good. Ineffective, tho. [I don't blame them for wanting to be able to pay the rent.]
Of course, I tend think the generic "lets go out and march and be heard" thing is for most people really an exercise in self-gratification anyway. Unless a cause is such that it would bring out millions to the streets (and thus get some media coverage for a while), it doesn't really do anything - other than let the marchers think they've "made their statement" and that at least a percentage of those marching hold similar views (wow, look at all of us! we have control over something!). All of which, in the long run tends to be basically ignored once everyone's gone home and business is "back to normal."
Even with the "millions in the streets" scenario, while it makes for great news coverage and can leave people feeling "empowered", if it's only a one-time thing it will eventually fade and be forgotten - and usually pretty quickly. It appears to me that the citizenry here has developed the collective political memory of a gnat - if it's not constantly in front of them on their cell phones, in six months they can't even tell you the actors involved in an issue/situation. Seems to be especially true if they are still living a comfortable life - if it's all an abstract political thing that doesn't appear to touch them directly, in the present. The "normal" of everyday life will soon start to mute the insanity that caused the mega-marches - people will accept a lot of discomfort before they'll finally really snap.
Sporadic marching certainly won't have much effect on governmental policy. It would take a concerted effort over a long period of time. Unfortunately, staying home for more than one day - and really popping the economy (which WILL get notice) - is not feasible for very many people, immigrant or not. Long-term boycotting tends to work for change, but what to boycott? Constant civil disobedience also causes change, but at tremendous negative cost to all parties.
Pretty much it appears as if we are freaking stuck until the next set of elections - thankfully senators are not always elected at the same time as presidents. Voting people out of office/into office is pretty much the only way "things" are going to change, and it's going to have to be a massive vote-out/in to get the numbers needed to change policy. Because, while the current prez is heartburn inducing, it's Congress that needs to be re-wired.
I wish I could say with confidence that I see that in our future. But I see what I see.