Muslims fired from Fort Morgan meat plant can reapply after prayer dispute


FORT MORGAN | About 150 mostly Somali workers who were fired from a Colorado meatpacking plant in a workplace prayer dispute can soon apply to be rehired.

Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Meat Solutions said Friday it had changed its re-hire policy nationwide to allow workers fired from its facilities to seek re-employment after 30 days, instead of 180 days as it had previously.

Cargill did not guarantee that all of the workers would be rehired or that they would obtain their previous positions.

Both Cargill and Somali leaders blamed a three-day walkout that led to the firings on a Dec. 18 misunderstanding over allowing Muslim workers to take prayer time during their shifts. Cargill said it never changed its policy allowing prayer breaks; some workers believed it had.

About 150 workers were fired the next week for not reporting to work or contacting the company for three consecutive days.