A union which managed to add Eid ul-Fitr (or Id-ul-Fitr), the end of Ramadan, to its list of paid holidays finds itself in a controversy. From a NYT report by Steven Greenhouse:
The provision, which was proposed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, has delighted the plant’s Somali workers, who account for hundreds of its 1,200 employees. But it has infuriated many outsiders, leading some to denounce Tyson and the union alike.
“You are a union that is proud of achieving a Muslim holiday and prayer room?” one person wrote the union. “A union in the U.S.A., a country based on Christianity. You call yourselves Americans? Have you forgotten 9/11?”
Another wrote: “You had no right to drop Labor Day. Muslim employees must integrate Labor Day into THEIR lives if they are going to live in America.”
Stung by the criticism, Stuart Appelbaum, the union’s president, said the decision was fully consistent with the spirit of Labor Day.
“We in the labor movement have always understood that unions are only strong when we work to protect the dignity of all faiths, and that includes Muslims,” said Mr. Appelbaum, who also serves as president of the Jewish Labor Committee.
“What we negotiated was the will of the workers,” said Mr. Appelbaum, who added that his was the first union to negotiate a paid day off for a Muslim holiday and that he was sure Tyson would not be the last employer to agree.
This article says this is the first union to negotiate a paid day off for a Muslim holiday in the U.S.
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