From the Are You Shitting Me, archives…comes, Tyson Plant Drops Labor Day for Muslim Holiday

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

“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 June statement. “And we were able to get management to commit to it.”

The change, which does not affect the company’s 118 other plants, exchanges Labor Day for the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. The new contract, negotiated last fall, also gives Muslim workers a prayer room.

“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.

The seven additional paid holidays are the employee’s birthday, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mickelson said.

Tyson officials said that approximately 250 of the plant’s 1,200 employees are Muslim Somalis. Many, the union said, entered the United States as political refugees — among them, Abdillahi Jama.

“This new contract is good because it allows me to work on the second shift and still pray when I need to,” Jama said in a press release. “It’s very important to us, and the Eid is one of our most sacred holidays. It shows how the union helps us.”

News of the change has prompted some anger on local Web message boards, with some writings urging readers to contact the AFL-CIO and boycott Tyson products.

The union’s national president, Stuart Appelbaum, said it was the union’s job “to stand up to win respect for every worker’s right to practice their faith.”

Tyson officials said the contract was agreed to by 80 percent of the union’s 1,000 members at the plant.

This year Eid al-Fitr falls on Oct. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more from the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.


Fox News

Boycott Tyson Foods! Minority Rules!


Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and Tyson Foods workers at the poultry processing plant in Shelbyville overwhelmingly voted to overturn a union contract that replaced Labor Day as a paid holiday with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, it was announced this morning.

The new agreement will increase the number of paid days off for workers in the current calendar year to include both Labor Day and the Muslim observance as paid holidays for workers in the Shelbyville plant.

Gates of Vienna

Posted in Islam, WTF. 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “From the Are You Shitting Me, archives…comes, Tyson Plant Drops Labor Day for Muslim Holiday”

  1. Rebecca H Says:

    Unions are desperate for new members.

    That’s the only way I can reconcile this. No, wait, I’m NOT reconciling with it.

    Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus in America have to take a personal day when they want off for their religious holidays, and this pretty much holds for any Christians who want to take off a non-national holiday. And don’t give me any guff about Christmas, because that holiday is celebrated all over the frickin’ world by people who aren’t even nominally Christian, so don’t try to tell me it’s actually a religious holiday. It isn’t, despite its name and the religion that accompanies it.

    I understand Tyson is under pressure from its largely Muslim plant-worker force, although from the news articles, only the Somalis are pressing the issue (not because the news articles say so, but because every article mentions the small number of Somalis as opposed to the “other” Muslims in their plants).

    This is just more cultural jihad, and the unions are willing dupes. If only the news articles would just come out and say so.

  2. Burbank Says:

    Is Tysons an exclusively US venture or does it have international branches that us non-americans can boycott?

  3. Charlie Says:

    Just 20% of the workforce is Muslim but this was top priority during negotiations?

    You can’t really blame Tyson for this, the Union negotiated it, although I can’t understand why. I may not have read it correctly but if they get paid for this, but the other workers don’t get paid for Labor day, isn’t that discrimination?

    I worked with a Muslim guy once who was allowed 5 extra paid breaks a day for ‘prayer’, he wasn’t a strict Muslim, he drank and smoked and when I asked why he had these breaks if he wasn’t going to pray (he just used them as fag breaks) he said “Because it was offered and I can…”

  4. swampie Says:

    I would boycott Tyson products but none are offered in my grocery store.

    If I ever have the opportunity to buy any, I won’t.

  5. Blogging Addiction Site Growth: July 2008 · Says:

    […] News » News News From the Are You Shitting Me, archives…comes, Tyson Plant Drops …2008-08-08 19:48:31Union’S was the AFL-CIO and boycott Tyson products. The union’s job … anger […]

Well, SAY something...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: