Tyson Reverses Labor Day/Muslim Holiday Decision

Responding to pressure from consumers around the country as well as its own staff, Tyson Foods has reversed its decision to allow Muslim employees to take a religious day off instead of the federal holiday of Labor Day.

As NewsBusters reported Sunday, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) had recently announced this as part of a new negotiated contract with Tyson employees at its Shelbyville, Tennessee, plant.

However, as the New York Times reported Tuesday, the company came under a lot of pressure from angry consumers following this announcement, and on Friday issued the following press release (h/t NBer SickofLibs, photo courtesy NYSE):

August 8, 2008 - Tyson Foods, Inc. announced today it has reached a new agreement with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), an American union, reinstating Labor Day as one of the designated paid holidays under the contract for covered employees in the Shelbyville, Tennessee, plant.

Tyson 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. The union 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. This means that in 2008 only, Shelbyville employees will have nine paid holidays.

For the remainder of the five-year contract period, the eight paid holidays will include: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and a Personal Holiday, which could either be the employee’s birthday, Eid al-Fitr or another day requested and approved by their supervisor.

Noel Sheppard's picture