FORT MORGAN, CO - In all, 190 Muslim workers at the Cargil meat plant in Fort Morgan, have been fired. It comes as a result of a dispute over prayer while at work.
They are Somalis who came to Colorado to work. But this week their employer, Cargill Meat Solutions, fired many of them after they refused to show up for three days in protest. "It doesn't matter if I don't have a job, my religion is more important,” said Tony Aden, a fired worker.
The company says the dispute began earlier this month when 11 Somalis wanted to pray all at one time. The company said no because it would stop the operations. The Somalis left and prayed anyway. News of that led nearly 200 others to stop work in protest.
Now fired, they are receiving help applying for unemployment compensation with the assistance of a fellow Somali who is upset with the firings.
"It's got things to do with Donald Trump, it's got things to do (Ben) Carson and all these guys who are rhetorically talking bad about Islam,” said Qadar Ducaale, a school district employee.
With some 190 Somalis now out of work, it’s threatening the economy of this African community in the heart of rural America.
Cargill insists it attempts to provide religious accommodation for all at its plant, including a prayer room. Many Somalis however, take issue with that. "Five minutes, 10 minutes, they give to me... say no,” a fired worker said.
So now the Somalis out of work pass time idling away, while the company looks for new hires in an attempt to replace them, trying to fill their shoes.