Tyson Drops Labor Day for Muslim Holiday

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A Tyson Foods' processing plant in Shelbyville, Tenn., is dropping the Labor Day holiday in favor of an Islamic holy day.

The change, which does not affect the company's 118 other plants, exchanges Labor Day for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The new contract also gives Muslim workers a prayer room.

The new contract at the Shelbyville facility "implements a new holiday to accommodate the ... Muslim workers at the plant," officials with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said in a press release.

"The five-year contract creates an additional paid holiday ... that occurs toward the end of Ramadan," RWDSU officials said in the release.

Tyson's Director of Media Relations Gary Mickelson told the Shelbyville Times-Gazette that their employees are not actually receiving an additional holiday, but that they've exchanged one holiday for the other.

"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," Mickelson said. "Since all team members will still have eight paid holidays, the change will not affect production."

The other paid holidays include team members' birthdays, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Tyson officials said that approximately 250 of the plant's 1,200 employees are Muslim Somalis and that the contract was agreed to by 80 percent of the union's 1,000 members at the plant.

Eid al-Fitr falls on Oct. 1 this year.

Source: Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Fox News

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