Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't get too worked up about Tyson Foods dropping Labor Day for a Muslim holiday.
Workers at the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day but will instead be granted the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.
According to a news release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a new five-year contract at the plant included the change to accommodate Muslim workers at the plant.
Tyson's director of media relations Gary Mickelson said the contract includes eight paid holidays -- the same number as the old contract.
Eid al-Fitr -- which falls on Oct. 1 this year -- marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Union leaders said implementing the holiday was important for the nearly 700 Muslims, many of them Somalis, who work at the plant that employs a total of 1,200 people.
Nineteen-year plant veteran William Pentecost doesn’t agree with the decision.
"I don’t think it's right. I really don't think it's right," he said.
Tyson company spokeswoman Libby Lawson said by phone that, "This isn't a religious accommodation, this is a contractual agreement. The majority asked for it."
The contract allows eight paid holidays, so the workers swapped one holiday for a day they preferred. When my father was a feed line worker at a local animal feed mill, he had Juneteenth as a paid holiday because that's what the union members voted for.
It isn't that I don't understand why some are uneasy about this, but it is one of the downsides of majority rule. And maybe it will give people pause about that.