More On Tyson

4 08 2008

The Tyson Food blow-up in Shelbyville is interesting on several levels, not just the obvious ones.

Let’s take a look at the fact that the Muslim Somalia community per se didn’t institute the change although I’m sure that it was requested. The union negotiated a labor contract for it’s evolving work force. Changing the Labor Day holiday and replacing it with Eid al-Fitr which falls on Oct. 1 is a hot button issue. This was negotiated by the union. Katie Allison Granju writes about it here.

Tyson will not lose any labor or loss in the work flow. Most corporations could give two craps about who does the work, they just want production to flow. The union made a request and management negotiated with them and agreed. Let me also say that Tyson doesn’t care what religion you are as long as you do the work.

Brian Mosely did a story on this for the Shelbyville Times Gazette.

Then he blogged about it, singling out several reasons for running the story but also talking about a blogger who wrote about the story. Scribe by Trade, in my opinion, wrote more about the anger in the comments than the story itself. The comments on that story were absolutely overwhelming. She called Mosely a good journalist but questioned if he was “fixated” on the Somalian community in Bedford County.

When Mosely blogged about it, he linked to her story and her MySpace page. He said she worked with a refugee relocation program but didn’t link to the actual website she works with.

First of all, I have worked in Social Work myself. I wish that Mosely had linked to that site instead of her MySpace page, but that’s just me. He obviously took the time to dig around about Christy, but he linked to the wrong page if you ask me. That didn’t set well with me at all but he made his choice and put his name on it. He should have linked to the site he referenced regarding her employment. That way it would have validated not only her but him. She might have information that he doesn’t. See where I’m getting at.

People who work in social services aren’t in it for the money, I assure you. Mosely gave a speech to the Rotary Club in February and you can read some of his thoughts here. Having written grants for a living, I can tell you honestly, no one gets rich. When I worked in Nashville, I worked with this organization when I worked with a victim’s assistance program. They were, and remain, a wonderful organization helping those who are disadvantaged if it’s the one I’m thinking it is.

Should the Times-Gazette have run this story?

Yes.

It’s happening in their community and it’s the conversation that’s going on. The story, according to Mosely in yesterday’s blog post, said the article has gone nationwide. Could Mosely have made a new source and contact with Christy who might have additional insight on the story that is the focus of the community? Well, I think yes and I own that. She was blogging about her personal thoughts about it. Her own op/ed column which is the same thing that an editorial in a newspaper is or a letter to the editor.

Should bloggers be held to the same standards of journalists? Brian references that in a comment at Wage’s abode.

Bloggers can’t have it both ways. Journalists can’t have it both ways. It is what it is.

A cultural war is happening in a rural community that most likely will garner more national attention in the coming weeks. And according to this story by WBIR, the Muslim Somalians are more than 50 percent of the work force at that plant. 700 workers out of 1,200.

So the holiday changed for the majority of the work force where the holiday applied.

I do not see anything wrong with that.

I’ve wondered why they didn’t offer their work force a choice. Those that want Labor Day get it. The ones that want Eid al-Fitr get that one. It’s a compromise. But then Tyson just wants production levels high and if they did that, for two days of the year, the work flow would ebb a bit. But it could be worth it if they want to keep everyone happy.

John Carney wrote in comments that the newspaper didn’t anticipate the angry comments on the story, but it needed to be covered. They write for their print editions. And those comments, as nasty as they were, were the new age’s letter to the editor. It’s difficult for anyone in news but it’s the way it is in the new digital media environment.

The reason why that is important to know is that is one of the trade-offs in this new digital age. And sometimes it’s offensive. It was to me. The comments were amazingly awful.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that situations will occur in regards to hot-button issues like this. If citizens want to boycott Tyson, let them do it. People work hard for their money and they can buy whatever they want to. Tyson has always been a bit questionable to me anyway for other reasons I’m not going to get into at the moment but I will say that always look up into the corporate environment and not be enamored with the distractions of mass destruction and hot button issues.

This isn’t going away but looking beyond the obvious and to the deeper roots of not only humanitarian, cultural and evolving media coverage must be done to not sway the facts with a smoke screen. Our culture is evolving.

Didn’t the union negotiate for the majority of their work force?

Yes they did.

These sort of things aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

UPDATE: snopes has it. It is 200 or 700? Just wondering. One press release says one thing. Another says another.

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10 responses

4 08 2008
JR

All the “soft Jiadh” business aside, Labor Day is a result of labor unions (specifically…the Central Labor Union of NYC) seeking a day off for the working man. It was, arguably, an attempt to gain favor from non-union employees…thus membership.

Personally, I believe labor unions to be a pox on American business that is highlighted by the billions being lost each year by major corporations domestically (Ford, GM…to name a few).

What I don’t understand is how Tyson can simply ignore a Federal Mandated Holiday. Labor Day has been such a holiday (through legislation) since 1894. I would think they are in violation of the law if they operate as normal on the first Monday in September.

The perfect scenario would be to stuff Labor Day and Eid al-Fitr into a crevice somewhere and ignore both agenda driven efforts. Of course, we’d end up wearing white pants year round, and we couldn’t have that…could we? Heathens…
JR

4 08 2008
John Carney

Just to clarify — I don’t think I said we didn’t anticipate web site comments. I said that web site comments weren’t something we thought about when deciding whether to cover something in the print paper. I certainly figured we would get some comments on an issue like this, although I had no idea we’d get this many.

I also feel compelled to say that, in my estimation, the first 80 to 100 comments were local, but most of the ones since that time have been from people outside of our coverage area, from people who have followed links to our site from various blogs and what have you. I’m not excusing any of them, only pointing out that Shelbyville doesn’t have a monopoly on that kind of bile.

4 08 2008
newscoma

Oh no and I didn’t mean to imply that. And you are so right about vile words being everywhere.
Ugly comments are everywhere. Wishing you guys luck.

4 08 2008
Reporter Catches Fire For Linking To Blogger’s MySpace : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

[…] Newscoma: First of all, I have worked in Social Work myself. I wish that Mosely had linked to that site instead of her MySpace page, but that’s just me. He obviously took the time to dig around about Christy, but he linked to the wrong page if you ask me. That didn’t set well with me at all but he made his choice and put his name on it. He should have linked to the site he referenced regarding her employment. That way it would have validated not only her but him. She might have information that he doesn’t. See where I’m getting at. […]

4 08 2008
SBates

I find it interesting that there are discrepancies between the Union and Tyson’s accounts regarding the number of Muslim employees at the plant.
A press release issued by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) cites 700 employees are Muslim.
On the other hand, Mickelson, Tyson’s Director of Media Relations, said said that Somalis only represent approximately 250 of the 1,200 employed at the plant, a little over 20 percent of the workforce.
So I’m curious as to which number is really accurate.

4 08 2008
Marion

“People who work in social services aren’t in it for the money, I assure you.”

Newscoma, thank you for saying that. Christy is one of my closest friends from Nashville and anyone who alleges she is relying on refugees to pay her rent needs to turn off their computers and go back to listening to Rush Limbaugh who resorts to such allegations on a regular basis. I am pissed beyond belief and am appalled that it has come to this.

4 08 2008
Megan

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that people were pissing and moaning about “all them dern mexicans” that were working at Tyson? I seem to remember people getting all pissed off that employees were speaking Spanish there.

Shelbyville is and has been dying a slow death for many years. I used to go there a lot more often (I was dating an assbag from there several lifetimes ago), and all I remember hearing about was how all the industry was leaving and all they had left was Tyson, and how great it used to be 20 years ago, blah blah blah.

So, you know, maybe the residents should just shut the F up about what language Tyson employees speak and what holiday they celebrate there and just be glad they’re providing jobs and revenue for your shithole town.

4 08 2008
» Call Tyson… online rihla

[…] papers and fallen down the rabbit hole of linkage, trying to get a local view on the story.  This blog piece in particular is quite informative in the sifting and winnowing of all the information out on the […]

6 08 2008
Troy

I lived the first 40 years of my life in central Indiana. It blows my mind that a factory in Shelbyville, which according to the 2006 US census is 97% white by racial demographic, has a factory where 58% of the employees are Muslim.

9 08 2008
Tyson Holiday Compromise « Newscoma

[…] Tyson Holiday Compromise 9 08 2008 Last week, I wrote that Tyson should compromise on the holiday uproar. […]

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