In one corner, wearing the corporate suits of a $10 billion meat packing conglomerate, the Greeley-based JBS Swift & Company.
In the other corner, wearing head scarves and traditional Somali dress, about 220 low-paid Muslim workers backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers union.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
In a plot that would make the side-of-beef-punching Sylvester Stallone proud, Swift fired more than 100 of the Muslim workers Wednesday after a week-long dispute over whether they could take their lunch break in the evenings to pray for Ramadan.
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Swift and the union had been negotiating over the request and threatened to terminate the workers if they didn’t report to work by Tuesday, but many of the workers, who had walked off the job Friday, didn’t come back until Wednesday, and so they were canned.
The employees feel like they are protected under the United States rules covering freedom of religion. The company says their demands placed an undue hardship on its operations. Grievances and lawsuits will follow.
But no worries! Swift will surely be able to find immigrants from some other country to employ in jobs that Americans won’t do.
Read about previous Shmucks in our Shmuck archive.