Over 150 Muslim Workers Walk Off Job After Religious Prayer Dispute
While some Muslim immigrants are drawing negative attention from Americans because of the San Bernardino holiday party massacre and the arson committed by a Muslim at his own mosque, those who are truly seeking a better life in America have had their efforts thwarted as The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has now advised workers to walk off their jobs.
Nearly 200 Muslim immigrants from Somalia walked away from an employer that had made provisions to accommodate prayer at the Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, just east of Denver.
The employees earned a base pay of $14-per-hour at the facility and many had worked at Cargill for a decade. Although they are represented by Teamsters Local 445, CAIR has handled the negotiations in this dispute.
Mike Martin, director of communications for Cargill, told local media that the company provided a prayer room where Muslim employees could observe the requirements of their faith for multiple prayers during the course of the day, usually in five-to-ten minute blocks of time depending on the season, but had found that the constraints of assembly line work made it impossible to allow large groups of employees to take prayer breaks away from the line at the same time.
Although some employees voluntarily returned to work, CAIR’s demands in the ensuing negotiations resulted in the firing of the employees who chose to follow the recommendations of the controversial Muslim group in a “no call, no show, walk out,” according to Cargill.
CAIR attorneys have said that the employees are anxious to get back to work, adding, “missing their prayer is worse than losing their job. It's like losing a blessing from God,” but did not comment on the company's long-standing policy of providing accommodations for Muslim prayer, nor the need for finding a balance between the special needs of Muslim employees and the productivity of the company that pays their wages.
A teleconference is scheduled for the first week of January, with CAIR attorneys requesting that the Cargill six-month rehire freeze policy be waived.