Tennessee Tyson Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-02-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
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Tennessee Tyson Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday

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Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday - Nashville News Story - WSMV Nashville

"Welcome to Obamadinejads Amerika", just for starters. And of course they will boycott Tyson.


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

POSTED: 12:18 pm CDT August 1, 2008

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.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:49 AM   #2
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Hmm, I'm not sure if I agree with letting go of Labor Day to accomodate for Eid al-Fitr. I guess they felt out of all American holidays, that one was the least patriotic, as compared to Memorial Day, President's Day, etc.

As for those comments, I'm not surprised; I've seen comments like that before. Its just the ongoing argument over what is America about - a Christian nation or a nation of freedom and tolerance.

Quote:
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
The key word - if! Sounds to me that they are not as dedicated to their religion as the Muslims are. When should've been the word - when they wanted to pray, they should've addressed that to Tyson. And if those employees feel they are being discriminated against because there is no prayer room for Christians, why won't they sue?
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Old 08-02-2008, 01:47 PM   #3
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"Welcome to Obamadinejads Amerika"
I thought no one was saying this on the right, that it's all just something Obama made up...

I have no problem with the holiday.

I don't agree with the prayer room.

I think the folks upset by this are ignorant...
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:07 PM   #4
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I thought no one was saying this on the right, that it's all just something Obama made up...


What are you talking about?
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:34 PM   #5
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What I am most upset about is that they did away with Labour Day!

This is a union! I am a union man and make sure that I never work Labour Day (its actually in our agreement that you are not allowed to work that day unless there is an emergency, i work construction so there isnt that many big emergencies going on, unless the oil refinery is on fire I'm stayin home!).

How could the union support letting go of the day that celebrates the very thing they represent! You Americans have shitty labour laws and I understand that an entire shop does not have to join the union so this only effects only the union people. How ironic, the union hands have to work labour days and the nonunion hands have it off! Priceless!
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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What are you talking about?
Don't worry about it, no one is making those references.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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Stupid. Why not give the rastafarians a pot smoking room while your at it.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:51 PM   #8
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Let's go down the list of common sense here...

Quote:
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.
In other words, 58% of the company is Muslim...

Quote:
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."
...and union contracts are created around majority interests...

Quote:
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.
...and observant Muslims are required to pray a certain number of times a day, whereas there's no such requirements for Christians...

Quote:
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.
...which is why no Christians asked for one of their own.

In other words, here's what non-Christians experience regularly when they get Christian holidays off, but not their own...but in reverse.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:32 AM   #9
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The majority of employees are Muslim. So, a prayer room is probably necessary, since they are bound by faith, to pray five times per day. But, I think a meditation room would also be a good idea, for the employees of other religions.

Instead of eight holidays in their contract, they should have nine. That way everyone is happy.
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:36 PM   #10
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If anyone is interested in Tyson foods they are as bad and probably worse then Wal-Mart when it comes to working conditions! Read up on this buisness and see what they have been not only accused of but charged with. I havent bought Tyson Foods products since there was a strike up here a few years ago.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
"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.
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Originally Posted by melon View Post
In other words, here's what non-Christians experience regularly when they get Christian holidays off, but not their own...but in reverse.
This is my favourite part of the whole thing.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melon View Post
In other words, 58% of the company is Muslim...



...and union contracts are created around majority interests...



...and observant Muslims are required to pray a certain number of times a day, whereas there's no such requirements for Christians...



...which is why no Christians asked for one of their own.
I do think it actually is as simple as this
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:08 AM   #13
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Seems pretty simple, nice breakdown Melon. Combine that with the fact that the US "Labor Day" isn't even the proper Labor Day which is May 1, but America didn't want to recognize that because they were afraid of looking like a bunch of commies (gasp!), and there really isn't much to fuss about.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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Tyson plant adds Muslim holiday, keeps Labor Day

By ROSE FRENCH, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 8

Union workers and officials at a Tyson Foods plant in Tennessee said Friday they have agreed to reinstate Labor Day as a paid holiday, and the plant will also observe the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr this year.

Tyson had previously agreed to drop Labor Day and substitute the Muslim holiday as part of a new 5-year contract to accommodate Muslim workers at the plant in Shelbyville, which is about 50 miles south of Nashville. The decision sparked widespread criticism, from local politicians to talk radio to the Internet.

The Springdale, Ark.-based company said it requested reinstating Labor Day after complaints from plant workers and the public.

Union members voted Thursday to reinstate Labor Day as one of the plant's paid holidays and keep Eid al-Fitr as an additional paid holiday for this year only. For the remainder of the contract, workers will have Labor Day and a personal holiday, which can be used to observe Eid al-Fitr or another day the employee's supervisor approves.

Union officials have said at least a couple hundred of the 1,200 plant workers are Muslim.

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

Muslim civil rights advocates criticized Tyson Foods, and a union official said the company's response was disingenuous.

"This wasn't something imposed. It seems that this backtracking would be the result of the backlash from anti-Muslim hate (Web) sites and Islamophobes on the Internet," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Washington D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the union headquartered in New York, said he was surprised by the reaction to the holiday change.

"I would have thought that people would have been more sensitive and sympathetic to the concern to the members of our community, who want to celebrate their religious faith," he said. "It's a little disingenuous to say that they (Tyson) were responding to employee concerns. The proposal came from workers themselves."

Tyson's previous decision to drop Labor Day as a paid holiday drew intense scrutiny. In a letter to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette newspaper published Thursday, the local mayor and other state elected leaders said substituting Labor Day "for a nontraditional holiday is unacceptable."

"For over a hundred years, Labor Day has stood as a symbol to honor the working men and women of this country. But for the past few years traditions like Labor Day have been under attack. This time it's gone too far and we, as patriotic Americans, must draw our line in the sand," the letter said states.

Requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, say Muslim advocates.

In 2005, 30 workers walked off the job at a Dell Inc. plant in Nashville after alleging the company refused to let them pray at sunset.

Last year, dozens of Somali meatpacking workers at a Nebraska plant quit their jobs because they were not given enough time off for Muslim prayers, though they eventually returned to work at the Swift & Co. plant.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post

Union members voted Thursday to reinstate Labor Day as one of the plant's paid holidays and keep Eid al-Fitr as an additional paid holiday for this year only. For the remainder of the contract, workers will have Labor Day and a personal holiday, which can be used to observe Eid al-Fitr or another day the employee's supervisor approves.
This arrangement makes the most sense.
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