May 16, 2007, - 12:41 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Two-and-a-half cheers to Swift Packing for saying “NO” to demanding Muslim employees who wanted special breaks to pray. (Swift loses 1/2 a cheer because they employed illegal aliens, and were raided for it by ICE, last year.)
Almost 100 Muslim workers quit because Swift would not give in to their Islamic demands. If only Target–which allows Muslim cashiers to refuse to ring up pig products–would take a cue from Swift.
Now, watch for the Muslims and their buddies at CAIR to start a class-action lawsuit, pronto.
One question: Since Swift previously hired illegal aliens (and was raided by ICE for it), how many of these Muslims are here legally?
More from AP:
Grand Island, Neb. – Nearly 100 Muslim workers have quit their jobs at a Swift & Co. meatpacking plant because their prayer times weren’t accommodated.
“They kind of issued the company an ultimatum,” said Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
“They went in before the shift started (Monday) and said that they’d go unless they could pray when they needed to,” Hoppes said today.
Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift at its Greeley headquarters, said breaks are governed by a labor contract and that all employees are told about them during orientation for all new workers.
“The company has a history of making reasonable accommodations for legitimate religious practices,” he said Monday. “Swift has experienced no issues related to religious accommodations in recent years.
Hoppes said he believes the workers, who he said were Somali immigrants, had been offered jobs at a Kansas plant that would give them time off for prayer and make other accommodations for their religion. He didn’t know the name of the company.
Hoppes said the union contract contained no provisions for prayer, which for many Muslims is a minimum of five times a day.
“They had talked to a couple of our representatives,” Hoppes said, “but you can’t go into the middle of the contract and renegotiate those types of things. You’ve got a lot of different nationalities at the plant, a lot of different religious beliefs.”
He said the company had tried to work with the Muslim employees, telling them: “‘These are your break times. Can you fit it into that?’” But, Hoppes said, “if you take a hundred people out of that line, you gotta shut down the line. . . . It’s a real touchy subject.”
Thanks to reader Alex for the tip.
Tags: Dan Hoppes, Debbie Schlussel, Greeley headquarters, Kansas, Kansas plant, Nebraska, pig products, President, Sean McHugh, spokesman, Swift & Co., United Food and Commercial Workers Union