Workers In Tennessee Forced To Take Muslim Holiday Instead Of Labor Day

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. How long before the religious police chase us off the streets for the five daily calls to prayer like they do in Saudi Arabia?


    Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday
    More Than Half Of Tyson Plant's Workforce Muslim

    SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. -- Some workers at a local plant will no longer to be able to take their Labor Day holiday because of religious reasons.

    Workers at the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day but will instead be granted the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

    According to a news release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a new five-year contract at the plant included the change to accommodate Muslim workers at the plant.

    Tyson's director of media relations Gary Mickelson said the contract includes eight paid holidays -- the same number as the old contract.

    Eid al-Fitr -- which falls on Oct. 1 this year -- marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

    Union leaders said implementing the holiday was important for the nearly 700 Muslims, many of them Somalis, who work at the plant that employs a total of 1,200 people.

    Nineteen-year plant veteran William Pentecost doesn’t agree with the decision.

    "I don’t think it's right. I really don't think it's right," he said.

    Tyson company spokeswoman Libby Lawson said by phone that, "This isn't a religious accommodation, this is a contractual agreement. The majority asked for it."

    The change didn’t bother some workers.

    "I think it's fine. I don’t have any problem with it. There's a whole bunch of them here, so they've got to do something for them," said worker John Smith.

    "It shouldn't happen. I mean, I think, we're in America, you're in America, I think that they should go with our holidays," Pentecost said.

    Channel 4's Cynthia Williams could not reach any of the plant’s Muslim workers, because Channel 4 News' crew was not permitted on the property.

    Former employee and Shelbyville resident Anthony Proctor said he thinks what's happening is wrong.

    He said he helped build a special Muslim prayer room that's located inside the plant and that no other Tyson facility has been that accommodating for any other religion.

    "If we want to go pray, we don’t have one for Christians," he said.

    Tyson is headquartered in Arkansas.

    Lawson said they consider religious accommodations on a case-by-case basis. She said that so far, no one has asked for any other type of religious prayer room.

    No one at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s regional office answered phone calls placed by Williams on Friday.

    A representative in New York said that no one there knew specifics about the new contract with the workers, but a person in research told Williams that holidays aren't usually replaced and are more likely to be added on.

    The decision will only apply to workers at the plant who are union members. All other employees at the plant will still have their normal Labor Day holiday.
  2. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    Well, if most of the workers there are Muslim (700 out of 1200 looks like a clear majority to me) I don't see why accomadating them for ONE SINGLE HOLIDAY has you all up in a bugaboo.
  3. stu


    To a die hard neo-con evangelical, anything over 5% is simply christians being oppressed.
  4. If 1/2 of my work force asked for Oct 1st off, I think it I would find a way to accomodate them.

    If 1/2 of my redneck work force asked for the opening day of deer season off and I negotiated it, the crew would probably buy me beer for life.
  5. jem


    I believe in majority rule except in very limited circumstances. More limited than the Supreme Court.

    Just as I believe we should continue to accomodate Christians on our holidays.

    This is why we can't have blind immigration rules. If we want to protect our culture we can't let this happen. If we don't want to protect our culture - continue what we are doing.

    in this case I am leaning towards letting the majority swap out labor day.

    I would have to read more.
  6. I understand the sympathetic attitude toward religious accommodation. I'm surprised someone didn't point out that NYC law firms give off jewish holidays. The difference is two fold and the lack of appreciation for it is troubling. One, muslims do not grant reciprocal accommodation. With them it's their way or a bomb. Two, this is the US. They move here, they adopt our ways including our holidays. Racist or discriminatory? No, because we have a greater right to maintain our own culture and traditions.

    In Minneapolis,apparently a lot of cab drivers are also somalis. (How do they all get here?) They started demanding the right not to take people with alcohol or animals from the airport. Actually, they just started refusing to take them, even though as a licensed carrier, they are required to take anyone is not violating the law. A lot of people supported them, well meaning multicultural types. So suddenly, a small band of religious zealots can decide what we take to the airport.

    What's next? Maybe they don't like the clothes your daughter is wearing. Not modest enough. So they cut her hair off. Welcome to France.
  7. Cutten


    IMO a superstitious belief in an imaginary being shouldn't give one any privileges at the workplace. However, this is a matter for the company and its workers surely?
  8. jem


    Yes - but the majority does so you lose. That's the way it should work in my opinion. With the caveat being that we should protect everyone's fundamental rights as defined by.... me or the Supreme Court.
  9. stu


    Quite so. The religious element is irrelevant and no special consideration should or need be made. Public holidays are public holidays period. If a majority of workers want to use it for their own peculiar reason then they have an opportunity to do that.
  10. In Minneapolis,apparently a lot of cab drivers are also somalis. (How do they all get here?)

    Might be a resettlement area. I often wondered how groups of people end up in the same place. The gov't hands out a "Go here" map with an "X" on it.

    One, muslims do not grant reciprocal accommodation. With them it's their way or a bomb.

    I agree.
    #10     Aug 5, 2008