Several dozen Somali Muslim employees of the Jennie-O Turkey Store processing plant in Melrose, Minnesota staged a walk-out over new restrictions put in place for the several Islamic prayer breaks demanded by Muslims during working hours.
Greenville News According to a grievance letter addressed to Jennie-O management, employees were protesting behavior they characterized as discrimination, citing “racist and Islamophobic behavior” by managerial staff at the plant, whom they say have placed restrictions on their daily prayer.
Prayer is observed five times daily in the Islamic faith. The timing of each prayer corresponds to certain positions or movements of the sun. Two daily prayer times fall within the regular work day for Jennie-O employees.
According to Hussein Bati, under previous management Muslim employees would clock out for eight minutes for their daily prayer if the prayer time did not correspond with their regular break. Now, he says, new management has scheduled different times for prayer that do not correspond with the appropriate times for daily prayer as laid out in Islamic belief.
In their letter to Jennie-O management, employees said the forced change to their prayer time is “causing undue burden on our Muslim employees and is causing tremendous stress that will affect food safety.” (Just having Muslims working around food affects food safety)
Workers met with Jennie-O management Friday to discuss the restrictions, but the manager in question “took off his shirt and threw it on (an employee,)” threatened workers with disciplinary action and asked them to leave the plant, employees alleged in the letter. (Just fire all of them and never hire a muslim again. Problem solved)
Other grievances include occupational health and safety violations, staffing practice issues, racial discrimination, harassment and hostile behavior.