Saturday, May 26, 2007

Muslims who quit over prayers - return to work

70 Muslims at the Swift meatpacking plant in Nebraska who quit because they were not given enough time for prayer have returned to their jobs. (Although a union official says the issue may resurface during the longer days of summer - CAIR to place your bets on this one happening?)

Accommodate, appease and bend over backwards...We have this account of the meeting from - get this ... Mr. Mohamed Rage, the chairman of the Omaha chapter of the Somali-American Community Organization.

"Management was cordial and understanding," Rage said. Somali workers left their jobs at the Swift plant last week because they were unable to complete an evening prayer -- one of the five prayers required each day of the Islamic faith, Rage said. The company agreed to allow a normal bathroom break to be used for prayer time. Workers agreed to limit their prayer time to the time available. Workers were pleased with the meeting's results, Rage said."It was a gentlemen's agreement," he said. Swift spokesman Sean McHugh said it was a productive meeting." All parties gained a better understanding of the others' concerns," McHugh said. "We've reached a mutually acceptable agreement that adheres to the provision of the existing labor contract."McHugh said about 120 Somali workers resigned last week. By Wednesday afternoon, he said, about 70 had returned to work.

Similar requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, says Muslim advocates.

Who are these nameless faceless "Muslim advocates"? Look for the union label and CAIR, of course.

“We live in a country where religious beliefs are important to us, and I don’t care what religion it is and we should try to do our best to support those things,” Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said. “But we’ve got a contract with Swift.”

CAIR speaks - although they aren't making much sense. As usual.

A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Rabiah Ahmed, said “there is some flexibility when it comes to prayer if it’s conflicting with something as serious as your job and your work environment. But (prayer) doesn’t take very long — really it only takes five minutes,” she said. The council, which describes itself as a civil rights and advocacy group, has been able to mediate between companies and workers on the issue in most cases.

Here are some of those cases:
Some Muslim cashiers at Target stores in Minnesota were shifted to other positions in March because they objected to handling pork products.

An ongoing dispute also exists among cab drivers who serve Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — many of whom are Muslim — who refuse to take passengers who are carrying alcohol.
In 2005, 30 workers walked off the job at a Dell, Inc. plant in Nashville, Tenn., after alleging the company refused to let them pray at sunset.

A federal lawsuit brought by nine Somalis against Gold’n Plump Poultry Inc. in October made similar allegations.