Muslim meat workers to discuss prayer conflict

Muslim workers involved in a dispute at the Grand Island meatpacking plant in Omaha, Nebraska, are preparing for a meeting to decide the next step. According to reports, at least 86 workers were fired after they walked off the job during a dispute over the workers’ right to prayer during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mohamed Rage who leads the Omaha-Somali-American Community Organization said that up to 150 were fired after the dispute. The workers, most of whom are of Somali background, have been asking for accommodations to be made so that their break times are adjusted to occur around sunset – the time that Muslims generally break their fasts during Ramadan. One of the workers said that the break had been arranged and agreed by managers, but tension amounted when Latino co-workers protested the Muslim workers leaving to break their fasts. However, Dan Hopped of the Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union descried the events differently, saying that supervisors told the workers to return to work or leave – and the employees were fired after leaving. The meatpacking company, JBS Swift & Co said in a statement that the company is working to resolve the issue.

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