Muslim union workers at the JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado have filed grievances and wrongful termination claims stemming from alleged employment conflicts with their observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Initially there were attempts to work out a deal with Swift that would allow night shift workers to take a meal break before 9 pm to accommodate their fasting from sunrise to sunset.
On September 5, when requests for a break at sunset were denied, approximately 220 workers coming mostly from Somalia and other African nations staged a walk-out in protest. All of the protesters were suspended and a large percentage were later fired.
According to an official from Swift, the number of workers fired was 101, but a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 said the number was closer to 150. Attorneys for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have become involved as mediators in the dispute. (MORE)