August 5, 2008 | National Review Online
Ah, yes, the traditional end of summer: The Eid
Hope you're sitting down for this Fox News and AP report from Tennesseestan:
Workers at a Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Tennessee have opted to trade a paid Labor Day holiday for the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr. A 5-year contract approved by members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at the Shelbyville, Tenn., plant last November includes the change to accommodate Muslim workers.
'The negotiating committee made the holiday a top priority in contract talks,' the union's Alabama and Mid-South Council Representative Randy Hadley said in a statement issued in June. 'And we were able to get management to commit to it.'
The change … exchanges Labor Day for the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. The new contract, negotiated last fall, also gives Muslim workers a prayer room.
'Eid al-Fitr is one of eight paid holidays for all team members covered by the contract, while Labor Day is not a paid holiday,' Gary Mickelson, Tyson's media relations director, told the Shelbyville Times-Gazette….
Tyson officials said that approximately 250 of the plant's 1,200 employees are Somalis who entered the United States as political refugees. Most, if not all, are believed to be Muslim — among them, Abdillahi Jama. 'This new contract is good because it allows me to work on the second shift and still pray when I need to,' Jama said in the union's press release. 'It's very important to us, and the Eid is one of our most sacred holidays. It shows how the union helps us.'
News of the holiday change has prompted some anger on local Web message boards, with some writings urging readers to contact the AFL-CIO and boycott Tyson products.
The Eid falls on October 1 this year, right at the end of September Ramadan.