I’m sure President Obama will come to the aid of these 200 Muslim Somali workers that walked off the job at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan on Monday. They were protesting what they said was religious discrimination after an alleged policy change about when workers could breaks to pray during their shifts.
“Prayer is our first priority,” Hamza Hussein a worker at the plant said. , said. “We are Muslim. We’re not going to work for them if we can’t pray.”
Fort Morgan Times Reports:
About 200 employees at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fort Morgan left work on Monday due to what they claim is religious discrimination.
Many of the plant’s Somali employees claim that ever since Friday, their bosses have not allowed them to take the five-minute breaks for prayer that their Muslim faith requires them to observe every day. They left the plant at around 3 p.m. yesterday and are threatening to quit for good if the rules don’t change.
Meanwhile, Cargill representatives say company policy has always accommodated employees’ religious practices, and that nothing changed over the weekend.
Hamza Hussein, who has worked for Cargill for almost two years, said that in the past, the plant’s employees have always been able to take time during their shift to pray, but on Friday they were told they could no longer do so.
“Prayer is our first priority,” he said. “We are Muslim. We’re not going to work for them if we can’t pray.”
Mike Martin, director of communications for Cargill, said the plant has a reflection area where employees of all faiths have always been allowed to go for prayer. Because employees work on an assembly line, they are only allowed to leave one or two at a time, to avoid slowing production. But Martin said company policy on allowing religious practices has not changed.
“On Friday there were some people asking to go to prayer, and we accommodated them as best we could,” he said.
Martin also said the majority of the plant’s 2,100 employees did show up for work on Monday. The second shift of the day, during which the majority of workers are Somali, was a bit short, but he said the plant is still operating both shifts.
He said managers at the Fort Morgan Cargill plant are communicating with the employees who brought the complaints, and they hope to come to an agreement soon.