Swift Workers Walk Out

Hassan Shire, Advocate with the Somalian Community of Amarillo
Hassan Shire, Advocate with the Somalian Community of Amarillo

Up to 60 Amarillo residents are without a job tonight after they say they're choosing religion over work. They tell NewsChannel 10 as Muslims, they must pray five times a day, and the company would not allow them to do so during their eight-hour shift.

The former plant workers say they wanted to come to a compromise with the company at a meeting last night, but they didn't like the answer they received.

"He said you cannot pray here. And we said if you cannot pray here, we cannot continue the job," says Fadumo Gedi, who walked out on her job today.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg spoke with Swift's Human Resources Office, the United Food and Commercial Worker's Union, as well as an Advocacy Group for Somalians in Amarillo.

She explains each of their responses to the walk out.

Swift's response was short and sweet - no comment. The United Food and Commercial Worker's Union is investigating what happened. They've filed a grievance with the plant stating that the workers rights have been violated, in an effort to get them reinstated with the company. On top of that, an advocate with the Somalian Community of Amarillo is looking to see if these people were actually discriminated against.

"If it's true how they say they're stopping the religion, our people have the right to sue Swift because it's discrimination about religion, but we want to talk to swift to see how it happened," says Hassan Shire.

We are looking into state and federal laws to see if in fact what happened can be considered discrimination.