OMAHA, Neb. ­ Dozens of Somali meatpacking workers who quit their jobs because they were not given enough time off for Muslim prayers have returned to work, but the issue could resurface as sundown inches later through the spring, a union official said Friday.

About 70 of 120 Somali workers are back on the job at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant after abruptly quitting last week. The workers complained that existing break time rules did not let them leave lines to pray at sundown.

Similar requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, say Muslim advocates. . .

A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Rabiah Ahmed, said “there is some flexibility when it comes to prayer if it’s conflicting with something as serious as your job and your work environment.”

“But (prayer) doesn’t take very long _ really it only takes five minutes,” she said.

The council, which describes itself as a civil rights and advocacy group, has been able to mediate between companies and workers on the issue in most cases.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.