About 150 Somali-Muslim employees of a Colorado meat processing plant were fired after they walked out on the job, demanding prayer time, and refused to return.
Approximately 200 employees at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan staged the walkout, demanding various blocks of prayer time throughout the day, but a small number returned, according to The Denver Post.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is negotiating on behalf of the those who didn’t return.
The Denver Post reported:
On Tuesday Cargill, through its attorneys, fired the workers who were holding out, said Jaylani Hussein, a spokesman and executive director of CAIR.
Cargill is a Kansas-based company.
Some of the fired employees have been working at the plant for up to 10 years, Hussein said. Cargill had previously allowed Muslim employees to pray at the plant, even providing a prayer room, he said.
Depending on the season, the Muslim workers prayed at different times of the day, typically in about five-to-10 minute blocks, Hussein said. But recently a decision was made at the plant to change the practice.
“The workers were told: ‘If you want to pray, go home,’ ” Hussein told The Post.
The walkout was the workers’ attempt to persuade plant management to reinstate a prayer schedule.
Hussein said that management fired the workers over a “no call, no show, walk out.”
A no call, no show walkout is an absence from the workforce absent prior notification to the employer, and can be the basis for dismissal.
“It’s disappointing,” Hussein said.
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