Hot news from Shelbyville: Union overturns controversial contract
Posted by Ann Corcoran on August 8, 2008
Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and Tyson Foods workers at the poultry processing plant in Shelbyville overwhelmingly voted to overturn a union contract that replaced Labor Day as a paid holiday with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, it was announced this morning.
The new agreement will increase the number of paid days off for workers in the current calendar year to include both Labor Day and the Muslim observance as paid holidays for workers in the Shelbyville plant.
The agreement amends the existing contract negotiated last year, according to a press release from the RWDSU.
In a statement by Tyson spokesperson Libby Lawson, the food processing giant made this request on behalf of its Shelbyville plant employees, “some of whom had expressed concern about the new contract provisions relative to paid holidays.”
“In an effort to be responsive, Tyson asked the union to reopen the contract to address the holiday issue, and the union agreed to do so.” Lawson said.
Although Labor Day is back as a paid holiday, the Muslim holiday is still on for all plant workers:
The RWDSU membership voted overwhelmingly Thursday to reinstate Labor Day as one of the plant’s paid holidays, while keeping Eid al-Fitr as an additional paid holiday for this year only.
The more interesting part of this article came at the end when Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray told Tysons that they attracted the Somalis to Shelbyville and it was thus their duty to assimilate them.
Mayor Ray also said that a lot of work needs to be done to help the Somalis “get along with people, how to work with people … and how to be kind to one another.”
This is in reference to the frequent reports from the public of the refugee’s “rude and demanding” attitude that the T-G reported in the Somalis on Shelbyville series published in December 2007.
Ray said he is “still working on that,” meeting with Imam Haji Yousuf, of Shelbyville’s Muslim mosque.
The mayor said the problems stem from the customs of the Somalis, “not them (the refugees) so much, but the way they are used to operating in their country, which is more aggressive than most people that come here.”
“Their custom is to negotiate everything, but here you go into stores, you don’t negotiate, you make your mind up if you want to pay for it or not.”
“They’re here, they are part of the community, they are part of the economy, so it’s not like you can just tell them to leave … but Tyson is the reason why they are here, they are attracted by them, they come from different places to work here,” Ray said.
“Tyson’s got a big stake in this to help the community, to orientate the people (Somalis) to be kind, to be nice, to be polite,” Ray said.
I predict this last will be hard to do because we (non-Muslims) are all infidels and that is the root of this arrogance we are seeing.
P.S. I would still like to know what was going on in that Shelbyville mosque a few weeks ago prior to a Somali going on a rampage. Maybe Mayor Ray can ask the Imam when he meets with him.
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