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Muslim Swift workers sacked after walkout
by David Migoya
More than 100 Muslim workers were fired from a Greeley slaughterhouse Wednesday after refusing to report for work a day earlier in protest of the company's refusal to allow a prayer break during the work shift.
Another 120 workers — most of them Somalis — broke ranks with the protesters, went back to work Tuesday and kept their jobs, JBS Swift & Co. officials said in a statement.
"This action is a direct violation of our collective-bargaining agreement," Swift said of the walkout in a statement. "Employees were told . . . failure to report to work when recalled would result in their immediate termination."
Affected workers said they are seeking legal advice and hope to speak with city officials today to see what they could do.
"There were no negotiations (Wednesday), nothing," said Ahmed Mohamud, a spokesman for the workers and one of those fired Wednesday. "I honestly thought we'd work this out. We were fired because we pray."
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