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article imageTyson Foods Co. Plucks Labor Day Holiday

By Gar Swaffar     Aug 5, 2008 in Business
Tyson Foods has dropped Labor day as a paid holiday at one of their plants in Shelbyville Tennessee. The union workers will instead have a muslim paid holiday.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union which covers the employees at the Shelbyville Tennesssee poultry processing plant has negotiated with Tyson Foods to eliminate Labor day as a paid holiday in favor of Eid al-Fitr , a muslim holy day celebrating the end of ramadan.
Eid al-Fitr means "Festival of the Breaking of the Fast" in Arabic according to Wikipedia.
Tyson's Director of Media Relations, Gary Mickelson, stated that while the new contract does not provide an additional holiday, as the union claimed, "the new contract includes eight paid holidays, which is the same number provided in the old contract."
"However, the union leadership did request and receive Eid al-Fitr (which is apparently spelled various ways including Id al-Fitr and Eid ul-Fitr) as a paid holiday in place of Labor Day," Mickelson confirmed in an e-mail to the T-G. (Times-Gazette)
More concessions are being made for the nearly 700 muslim workers at the plant.
The union also claimed that in addition to the observance of the Muslim holiday, "two prayer rooms have been created to allow Muslim workers to pray twice a day and return to work without leaving the plant."
The constraints of a large muslim contingent in the plant have made the changes to the union contract appear to be necessary to maintain the workforce.
"In addition to regular, non-paid breaks, all Team Members are allotted a seven-minute paid break," the Tyson spokesman said. "Some Team Members choose to pray during this time."
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