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.