Tyson foods accomdating somalis

Workers at a Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Tennessee have opted to trade a paid Labor Day holiday for the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

A 5-year contract approved by members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at the Shelbyville, Tenn., plant last November includes the change to accommodate Muslim workers.

But the stories were also well received and praised, for which I am quite grateful and deeply honored.

Fast forward to a little over a week ago: I got a call stating that "one of your Somalians" had run afoul of the law in Franklin County.

Hence the presence of Somalis in with a Somali meatpacker work force.

"Eid al-Fitr is one of eight paid holidays for all team members covered by the contract, while Labor Day is not a paid holiday," Gary Mickelson, Tyson's media relations director, told the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

Last December, while I was researching my series about the Somali refugees that have moved to Shelbyville over the past few years, I received an unsolicited call from an enraged employee at the Tyson Foods plant. " she screamed."They're giving the Somalis some day at the end of their Ramadan," the lady told me. But her idea of "what I should do about it" was quite different than what I was working on.

" I told her that it was ironic she should call about the refugees, since I was right in the middle of looking into the topic.

Tyson drops Labor Day holiday for Eid al-Fitr You can bet that this action by Tyson is only the beginning to removing more of the holidays and other symbols that made the United States of America the greatest country on earth.


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"The negotiating committee made the holiday a top priority in contract talks," the union's Alabama and Mid-South Council Representative Randy Hadley said in a statement issued in June.

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