UPDATE: Tyson Foods resolves "misunderstanding" with Muslim employees over prayer time at Dakota City plant
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -
Officials, with the Tyson Foods plant, in Dakota City, Nebraska, say they have resolved a misunderstanding with Muslim employees, who say the company was taking way their religious freedoms.
On Tuesday, some Tyson Foods employees gathered outside of a South Sioux City business to protest changes to their breaks at the plant, which affected their prayer time. The workers said they weren't asking for additional time to pray because they would rather pray than eat.
They claim when they were hired they were told they would be allowed to pray. But, recent changes put that prayer time in jeopardy. Work at the plant was even halted, Tuesday night.
Officials from Tyson say there was a misunderstanding about those break times "as a result of some changes in break schedules in the recently completed labor agreement ratified by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union."
The misunderstanding was resolved, and work resumed at the Dakota City plant, Wednesday morning.
Some Muslim employees, of Tyson Foods Dakota City, Nebraska, plant, say the company is taking away their religious freedoms.
Tuesday afternoon, those employees gathered at a South Sioux City restaurant on Dakota Avenue to protest changes to their breaks at the plant, which affects their prayer time.
The workers say they aren't asking for additional time to pray because they would rather pray than eat. Many say they have worked at the Dakota City plant for years. They claim when they were hired they were told they would be allowed to pray. But, recent changes have put that prayer time in jeopardy.
"If you respect me, I respect you. That is how we use to work with them, right now they change a lot of things, they don't respect us, they don't give us any time where we can pray and they don't give us any decisions where we can make our own," said Abdi Jama Abdi, Tyson Foods Worker.
Employees say when they addressed the issue with Tyson's Human Resources department, they were told if they didn't like the changes they didn't have to work there. The workers say some of them were fired, and others walked out.
In a statement, a Tyson Foods spokesperson said "work in some production areas of our Dakota City beef plant is temporarily halted while we work through questions from team members about break times. We are actively having discussions and hope for resolution soon."