Tyson Holiday Compromise

9 08 2008

Last week, I wrote that Tyson should compromise on the holiday uproar.

Southern Beale is reporting that they have.

But this actually looks more like a reasonable holiday plan to me:

[M]any anti-immigrant groups and right-wing bloggers called for a boycott of Tyson, saying the contract betrayed an important American holiday and was an improper concession to Islam.

In a news release on Friday, Tyson said it had asked the union to revise the plant’s contract and restore Labor Day as a paid holiday because some Shelbyville employees had expressed concern about the contract’s provisions.

The revised contract again makes Labor Day a paid holiday but also keeps Id al-Fitr (pronounced eed-al-FIT-tr) — which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting — as a paid holiday for those who want it.So those who want to take off Labor Day can, and those who want to take off the Muslim holiday can. So what’s the problem?

I’m with Beale on this. It’s reasonable.

Let’s all have cupcakes now.

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?


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.

The Blow-up About Tyson

3 08 2008

I’ve been reading the story at the Shelbyville Times Gazette regarding the Tyson’s plant removing the Labor Day holiday and replacing it with Eid al-Fitr.

The comments at that story are so filled with hatred and anger that it honestly just sucks the oxygen out of the room.

I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said by other people in Tennessee.

When are people going to treat others, despite their race, religion or the sexual preference, the way that want to be treated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Golden Rule thing is a good one.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. And you don’t get to pick and choose what religion they are or what color they are. It goes for everyone.

Southern Beale has a post on this as well. She writes this:


“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I guess I missed the “except if you’re Muslim” line in that poem.

Well said.

News Is Evolving

29 03 2008

Demarcationville gets it. Some of the things I’ve been talking about for the last five years, she has managed to put in one post.

And if news sites and blogs aren’t real news, what are they then? Speculation? Pretend? The Dark Side? A passing fancy? Holy shit, someone should alert all major markets because most have invested loads of money in developing a user-friendly, multi-media formats.

They obviously have no clue this is all an illusion!

Can I just say I find this attitude incredibly frustrating? I am losing my ability to feel sympathetic here.

These changes in the market were NOT sudden. This wasn’t something unforeseen or unpredictable. The consumer shift from traditional media to online outlets has been occurring gradually for years now.

We’ve talked about this many, many times.

I’ve pulled my Paul Revere of the Press: “The Internet is Coming. The Internet is coming. We must develop a plan!”

The standard reply has been: (scoff) “We are a reputable newspaper. We are not in the business (shudder, snort) of running a website. That is not what we do. That is not our primary focus.”

Well, la-di-da.

And how is that working out for ya? Since online news is no longer popular as much as it is commonplace – have we arrived at a point yet where we accept newspapers either get with the program(ing) or try not to let the door hit em in their reputable asses on the way out?

I’ve been preaching this for years. For YEARS. I recently did an informal study of the local college in the area and there were more kids on Facebook and MySpace then I could keep count of. That, my friends, is the generation that will be buying advertising in five to ten years.

When folks have video on their cell phone and $100 cameras, anyone can break a story. It’s not a fly-by-night thing, it the way of the world now.

But alas, one can only be a preacher for so long without a local congregation.

Change is hard. Some of us know, however, and if/when it hits the pocketbook, then I think we will start seeing proactive maneuvering. Old School still clashes with the realities of technology and communication tools changing daily.

It’s not a new school, it’s just the way that it is.

Here’s the thing, it can’t be just done in a reporter’s spare time now or a secretary uploading content. Positions in the newsroom are evolving. I shoot video now but I’m having to train myself how to edit just like I did when radio through out the vinyl and reel-to-reels. I’ve destroyed a ton of content during the learning process but I’m trying to learn it nonetheless. It has to be it’s own entity. Larger newspapers know this. Smaller newspapers will have to recognize it soon and some of them are.

I’m 42 years old and I’ve seen a ton of changes in the past 24 years. Ever use wax and paste. I have. Even know what that is other than something spoke of fondly in Journalism 101 classes? Angela and John do.

Angela also says this which I agree with. Her post was incredible and you need to go read it all and she makes a good point here.

I believe there’s a way for the markets to not only coexist – but complement each other. In fact, I think they must.

I don’t think newspapers are dead by a long shot. But I do think they are going to have to quit living in denial. Als0, Put Demarcationville in your RSS feeds immediately.

Here is an example of how fast news spreads. Yesterday, Killa told me of a lockdown due to a bomb threat at MTSU that she had heard about on her RSS. I put it on Twitter, Rachel Walden at Women’s Health News sent me a link to a message alert she had and within fifteen minutes, Christian Grantham picked it up and was making phone calls about it. Lissa Kay also talked to us from East Tennessee about it on Twitter. Here is the story at WKRN.

Newspapers, this is the new world of communication and how news is evolving.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller