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US Plant Fires Praying Workers, Denmark Stops Fasting Kids

An unprecedented conflict has erupted between Muslim workers and management at JBS Swift & Co.'s Colorado meat packing factory, regarding when employees can pray in observance to Ramadan. Over 200 workers walked out during a shift, since management would not give them an official sunset break for prayer. As a result, the company fired half of them.

The union plans to file suit, but hopes the employees will get their jobs back without a court-battle. Right now, many that still have jobs have offered financial help to those who got fired. Sounds like the Swift plant has a different approach to Ramadan than the Tyson plant in Tennessee that agreed to give union workers the end of Ramadan off instead of Labor Day.

Meanwhile in Denmark, a municipal committee in Odense decided to call for principals and parents to stop children who are fasting for Ramadan. City officials say it's not so much politics or religion that prompted the push against fasting, but concerns over student health and ability to lean while hungry.

How should employers and teachers accommodate those observing Ramadan?


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
this is really a tricky situation - we're in the midst of a time of year that really has religious significance for a lot of people, and if they are able to be as productive as they were without taking the time to observe the 'holiday' then they should be able to. in a time when we try to pride ourselves on being welcoming to diversity - stories like this makes us realize that we're really not as evolved as we thought. for myself - there are a lot of times that i have to abstain from doing things at work because of religious things that i have to do - and if i were penalized for it, it would really show me that people are more talk about how supportive they can be rather than doing something to make me feel better about my beliefs.
stephley stephley 8 years
"The Greeley plant was where 270 Hispanic employees were detained after a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in 2006. Paul Stein, coordinator for the Colorado State Refugee Services Program, said the raid created a vacuum filled by Somali refugees. Stein said about 400 people from the war-torn country either live or work in Greeley, and 250 more are in Fort Morgan. Swift, which was purchased by Brazil's JBS SA in March, has had problems with Muslim workers in the past. At a Swift plant in Grand Island, Neb., dozens of workers from Somalia quit their jobs last year because they said they weren't allowed to pray at sunset." And if you're a company that insists on hiring cheap, easily exploitable labor understand that in the U.S., there are limits to what they have to put up with.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
If you want to go pray, do it on your own time. If you want a paycheck, observe the time clock, and work when you're supposed to be on the clock.
Vixen41686 Vixen41686 8 years
this country is not free at all. it's human nature that someone people can't shake off that other people are different and some believe they should be punished because they don't believe in the same religion. i've been yelled at this conservative christian woman saying i'll be going to hell because i didn't believe in her two special people in her life. i really wished people could respect others' beliefs and morals values.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
It's not just that they won't let the workers pray ... it's that they won't let them break fast appropriately. The sunset prayer is when the fast is broken. Popping a date and drinking some water before going back to work is unfair ... especially since these people probably didn't take their allocated lunch break to eat.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I cant leave my job to go observe good friday, unless its on my own time and i request it before hand. I can see it from both sides, business wise and religious wise. I am sure that there could have been some discussions, and compromise.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
I think this is ridiculous. Everything is "no religion," "we'll sue if you pray," unless it isn't Christian. Although the Denmark case is out of line. They can fast silently and without disruption.
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