This is an update to last years Swift Plant story. If you are wondering why things are quite there this year, here is your answer.
"But he said the company has tried to accommodate workers, including by giving them space and time for prayer. Cashen said they've tried to educate non-Muslims about Muslim observances."
Advocates: EEOC rules in Muslims' Neb. plant issue
By JEAN ORTIZ
OMAHA, Neb. — Muslim advocates said Friday that federal officials determined a Nebraska meatpacking plant wasn't doing enough to accommodate the religious needs of its Muslim workers but stopped short of laying out specific recommendations.
The Chicago-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlined its decision in a letter sent to the organization this week. The decision comes after a nearly yearlong investigation into conditions at the Grand Island JBS plant, where hundreds of Muslim workers walked out in protest last September because they weren't given time to pray.
"It's a favorable finding ... it's definitely a victory," said Rima Kapitan, an employment attorney who worked on the case for the council.
Jill Cashen, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said discussions have already been successful and hopes the letter doesn't set them back.
"We believe we've built important bridges across the various work forces over the past year," she said.
Union officials said the plant employs about 2,700 non-management workers. About 250 Muslims currently work at the plant, down from about 500 the union said worked there last fall.
JBS spokesman Chandler Keys declined to say whether the company was considering rehiring workers who were fired after the walkout. But he said the company has tried to accommodate workers, including by giving them space and time for prayer. Cashen said they've tried to educate non-Muslims about Muslim observances.
Keys and Cashen said they believe the changes and ongoing discussion have helped, judging by the lack of reported problems now that Ramadan is under way.
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